Objective: Neurosurgeons often have to rely on judgments of junior staffs to decide on patients whom they cannot attend immediately. Viber is a free to use application for image transfer on Internet. We evaluated the use of viber in neurosurgical scenario, to show it is cheap, fast, accessible, reliable and feasible.
Materials and methods: We conducted a prospective study from March 2013 to July 2013. Residents were taught to take sharp pictures and upload them immediately using viber on Internet. Primary endpoints were discordance between opinion of residents and consultants on viber images and subsequent actual image evaluation and time delay in decision-making. Discordance was considered significant if it changed management decision.
Results: During the study period, 120 (mean age: 42 years, 58% males) patients were enrolled. Wi-Fi is freely available in the institute and thus no costs were involved. Decision could be made on images received on viber at an average of 20 min. There was discordance in 56.7% cases between residents' reports and images on viber, which was significant in 88.2% cases. However in 5% cases decision changed after actual images were reviewed. Of all imaging modalities, computed tomography angiographic images were associated with statistically significant discordance (P <0.05).
Conclusion: This study suggests that the use of viber app in neurosurgery can be an easy fast reliable and almost free mode of communicating images enabling a quick decision. However this cost-effective method should be used with caution particularly with imaging modalities, which require processing and review on console.