Stroke diagnosis? There's an app for that.

According to study from the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine, doctors can make a stroke diagnosis using an iPhone application with the same accuracy as a diagnosis at a medical computer workstation. The study was designed by Dr. Mayank Goyal, and used iPhone software technology originally developed by Dr. Ross Mitchell, PhD, and his team at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI).

Neuro-radiologists looked at 120 recent consecutive noncontrast computed tomography (NCCT) brain scans and 70 computed tomography angiogram (CTA) head scans from the Calgary Stroke Program database. Scans were read by two neuro-radiologists, on a medical diagnostic workstation and on an iPhone. Overall, the iPhone app was just as accurate as the medical workstation

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, Mitchell, who is on the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine, said.

The app, ResolutionMD Mobile, has been commercialized by Calgary Scientific Inc. is officially available at Apple's App Store and Google's Android Marketplace. In April 2010, it was approved by Health Canada thus making it legal for Canadian medical professionals to make a primary diagnosis using the device.

The makers behind the app say its timeliness is one reason why could be beneficial. It allows for real time access to neurological information. In a medical emergency, medical imaging plays a critical role in diagnosis and treatment, time is critical in acute stroke care, every minute counts, Mitchell said.

With ResolutionMD Mobile, doctors can see and manipulate medical images in seconds because the server does all the computing work. Whereas in some medical software, it can 10-20 minutes to download raw medical images to an iPhone before they can be displayed, the team behind ResolutionMD Mobile says it takes mere seconds on the app.

For security purposes, Mitchell says confidential patient images remain behind hospital firewalls to prevent any patient data from being lost or stolen.

The research from the study was published in the May 6th edition of Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna