A new portable tool allows medical professionals to make a stroke diagnosis on a patient wherever they are with almost as much accuracy as being in the hospital.

This new convenience is not afforded by a new mega-million dollar, van mounted CAT scanner; its an iPhone -- yes, there's an app for that.

The new app -- called Resolution MD -- from researchers at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine allows doctors to make a stroke diagnosis using an iPhone with the same accuracy as a diagnosis at a medical computer workstation.

This technology can be particularly useful in rural medical settings and allows for real-time access to specialists such as neurologists, regardless of where the physicians and patients are located.

This iPhone app allows for advanced visualization and our studies show it is between 94% and 100% accurate, compared to a medical workstation, for diagnosing acute stroke, says Dr. Ross Mitchell Mitchell who is from the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine.

In a medical emergency, medical imaging plays a critical role in diagnosis and treatment, time is critical in acute stroke care, every minute counts.

Resolution MD works by sending data from a server where the processing is done back to display on a smart-phone in real time. The images can be manipulated in 3D on the device.

Doctors can see and manipulate medical images in seconds and researchers say those images are also secure.

The research, published in the May 6th edition of Journal of Medical Internet Research, says that Neuro-radiologists looked at 120 brain scans and 70 head scans and compared the diagnosis from those using the app to those on medical diagnostic workstations.

We were pleasantly surprised at our ability to detect subtle findings on the CT scan, which are often very critical in patient management, using this software, he says Dr. Mayank Goyal. Goyal is the director of research in the department of radiology and one of the neuro-radiologists in the study who analyzed the data.

In April 2010, the application was approved by Health Canada so Canadian doctors can now legally make a primary diagnosis using the device.