How Mobile Ultrasounds Are Reshaping the Medical Industry

Ultrasound scan result

Ultrasound scan result

Mobile ultrasound devices help healthcare professionals transcend the boundaries of time and space, making timely healthcare a reality in the most developed parts of the world and also the most isolated medical practices. We live in a time where instant solutions, especially in healthcare, are a necessity; especially when patients’ lives depend on timely diagnoses and treatment administration.

Thankfully, ultrasound technology continues to advance with the growing need for instant solutions. New inventions have created not only portable ultrasound machines like laptop-based devices but also increasingly compact devices like mobile ultrasounds that can be carried in the pocket of a lab coat and taken to even the most remote patients.

Especially in the last two decades, thanks to the benefits of portable ultrasound machines, ultrasound imaging as a diagnostic tool has experienced universal acceptance. However, the game-changing mobile ultrasound machines are expected to further expand the use of imaging technology in the unlikeliest settings like the front lines of the battlefield or in-home healthcare!

Positive Impact of Mobile Diagnostic Ultrasounds on Healthcare Delivery

portable ultrasound machine

When portable ultrasounds became available a few years ago, they provided ready accessibility in point-of-care applications, increasing the availability of diagnostic ultrasound in many healthcare disciplines. Choosing the best portable ultrasound machine can be difficult but knowing which applications the ultrasound will need to fulfill is a good place to start. If mobility and storage space is at the forefront of the needs of your practice, hand-held ultrasound machines might be worth checking out.

These new-age machines weigh less than a pound, giving you the ability to fit it in your pocket for on-the-go care. They can also be connected to any smart device like a tablet or smartphone for quick diagnosis. Mobile ultrasound machines have increased the availability of diagnostic ultrasound even in settings where portable ultrasounds aren’t easily accessible. Telemedicine is a key domain that can be tremendously benefited from mobile diagnostic ultrasound machines.

The low cost of mobile ultrasounds is a major contributing factor to its widespread adoption. They cost less than $10,000 which is quite a drop from the typical price range of $15,000 to $200,000 for laptop and cart-based systems.

With changing technology and new demands needing to be met, it’s safe to say that mobile diagnostic ultrasounds are reshaping the medical industry. They are not only indispensable for doctors on-the-go, but they also fulfill a need for medical diagnostics in point of care centers, and emergency settings. Past the general usage, mobile ultrasounds can also be used in a variety of settings.

Broadening Scope of Ultrasound with Mobile Ultrasounds

Mobile ultrasounds have expanded the use of ultrasound in settings where the use of even compact portable ultrasounds is not feasible. Besides long-term care centers for the elderly, telemedicine, and urgent care clinics, mobile ultrasounds can also be used in military battlefields where immediate care can be a life-saving situation, detecting injuries such as internal bleeding or other severities.

Another promising application of mobile ultrasounds is its potential usage in emergency settings. For example, a patient is being airlifted from remote areas and may need to be examined for severe medical issues in a timely manner[1]. This would help expedite treatment administration or intervention when the patient reaches the hospital. The University of Washington is conducting a study to evaluate the possibilities of using the devices in such challenging point-of-care settings. They are also collaborating with NASA to explore the potential of using mobile ultrasound devices on space flights to detect kidney stones[2].

Ensuring Patient Privacy

Security concerns regarding the easy availability of patients’ personal and medical information on personal devices like smartphones and other handheld gadgets pose a threat to the privacy of patient data. Luckily, all new mobile ultrasound technology must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Ensuring HIPAA compliance with each machine is mandatory to protect patient data and there are several ways to do so. One can restrict the use of storage and transmission and of sensitive patient information on HIPAA compliant servers and also use data encryption techniques. For greater security control, medical centers can even prohibit healthcare professionals and operators from using their personal cell phones.

Training Requirements – How to Use a Portable Ultrasound Machine?

Ultrasound technology is becoming more readily accessible, but this does not mean that everyone is skilled to interpret the images and offer an accurate diagnosis. Training is required by all who intend to operate all portable and mobile ultrasound machines as more and more new practices adopt the technology.

Institutes like the University of California, Irvine Medical School (UCI) are paving the way by training their students with mobile ultrasound machines. In fact, the dean of UCI, Dr. Warren Weichmann says that, while laptop and cart-based ultrasounds are portable, they’re still limiting in training given they are not easily moveable like mobile ultrasound machines[3].

Examples of Revolutionary Mobile Ultrasounds

Butterfly Enterprise

Butterfly IQ portable ultrasound machine

The Butterfly iQ is a device that can be connected to a Smartphone and is designed to help doctors perform exams anywhere and anytime. The Butterfly Enterprise goes a step further. It’s a device-agnostic, mobile-friendly ultrasound workflow platform that helps connect not only the iQ handheld device but also third-party ultrasound devices to the provider’s EHR and PACS systems.

Butterfly Enterprise provides several clinical workflow tools that help healthcare professionals perform a multitude of tasks. Now you can turn your practices into a digital workplace to communicate with colleagues, build and complete worksheets, credentialing, and process billing – all at the click of a button from a mobile device. The ability to store, document, and review exam results apart from completing all clinical tasks from a mobile phone at any location, both on-site and off-site, takes healthcare delivery to another level.

Philips Lumify Ultrasound

Phillips lumify mobile ultrasound

Philips Lumify Ultrasound, the first app-based mobile ultrasound solution, won the ‘Notable Commercial Equipment’ Award by Core77 Design in 2016. The Lumify solution is a mobile-friendly ultrasound solution designed to help clinicians make immediate diagnoses from anywhere and anytime in an easy and low-cost manner. It’s perfect for physicians in internal medicine, acute care, and musculoskeletal specialties, to name just a few. It’s also an extremely useful tool for Emergency Room physicians who need to make prompt diagnoses several times in a typical workday.

Using the Lumify solution, any compatible smart device can function as a high-quality ultrasound system. Plus, it can be used to store, retrieve, and share images, videos, and notes. It provides a full ecosystem of ultrasound apps for smart devices, ultrasound hardware (including transducers), an app interface designed for fast assessments, and workflow accessories.

National Ultrasound for your Portable and Mobile Ultrasound Needs

Would you like to take advantage of the ever-increasing mobile and portable ultrasound uses? Browse through our product range based on your application. National Ultrasound offers a full range of ultrasound machines including cart-based systems, laptop-based machines, compact systems, and even hand-held ultrasound machines from major manufacturers.

Or if you would like expert guidance in choosing the best portable ultrasound machine for your practice, contact National Ultrasound today. Our team of experts is committed to evaluating your requirements and fitting you with exactly what you need, at the lowest possible price!