Portable Ultrasound Units for Small Practices

operator-moving-the-transducer-probe-over-target-area

operator-moving-the-transducer-probe-over-target-area

Portable ultrasound machines have gained widespread adoption in diverse medical practices and facilities. Apart from meeting the needs of varied medical specialties, they provide a multitude of other benefits like low cost, portability, lightweight, compactness, and of course improved imaging capabilities.

Small practices can leverage the benefits of portable ultrasound units in a number of ways. For one, many small practices with space constraints can hugely benefit from portable ultrasound equipment that not only occupies less space but can also be moved from room to room, increasing efficiency, ease-of-use, and convenience.

In addition, they provide reliable diagnoses with speed and accuracy, increasing the diagnostic confidence of doctors while enhancing the clinical workflow. Plus the portable ultrasounds available today can be battery-operated for longer periods, making them highly suitable for use on as well as off field.

Depending on the specialty and intended use, doctors can choose a portable ultrasound that not only fits their imaging needs but is also more cost-efficient, compared to its larger trolley-based counterpart. But choosing the right machine requires careful thought and analysis.

To help guide your choice, here’s a guide to selecting the right portable ultrasound unit for your practice:

Choosing the Right Portable Ultrasound Unit for Small Practices

laptop-based-ultrasound-machine

Improvements in ultrasound technology have led to portable ultrasounds having great imaging capabilities, robust design, sound probes, and other enhanced functionalities and features. Hence, they’ve proved to be a great diagnostic tool in both small and large practices, enhancing their clinical workflow and quality of medical care.

The increasing scope of their applications has resulted in a broad variety of machines, making it slightly challenging to choose the right one for your practice. Purchasing an ultrasound machine is an investment that needs careful thought and consideration, especially for small practices.

Apart from the cost, one needs to consider other equally important aspects like scanning requirements and clinical workflow. Here’s a quick overview of what you should think about before making a decision:

Intended Use or Application

The first step to finding the right fit is by identifying the requirements of your practice. What is the intended use of the ultrasound unit? Will you be using it to evaluate the development of fetuses? Or will you be using it to guide medical procedures or injections? Will you be examining internal organs? The answers to these questions will help you identify the perfect equipment for your practice.

The clinical workflow of your practice should also be factored in. How can the new machine help increase efficiency? Which ultrasound unit can match the clinical workflow of small practices?

Type of Transducer Required

The transducer probe is another crucial factor to consider when buying an ultrasound machine as it determines the body parts that can be examined. Will you require a single transducer or a suite of transducers? Which transducer probes would best meet your scanning requirements – linear, convex, or phased array, or a combination of these?

Imaging Software and Presets

Before choosing a machine, it’s necessary to identify the right imaging software. The right type of software can enhance the functionality of your portable unit, enhancing the workflow and patient throughput. Is the software compatible with the unit? Will it be easy to use for you and your staff?

It’s important to analyze the above criteria and then choose a machine that best meets your needs and budget.

Types of Portable Ultrasound Units

Portable ultrasound machines can be categorized into three categories:

Laptop-based Systems

Compact Systems

Handheld ultrasound systems

While all portable ultrasounds can be easily carried wherever they’re needed, they vary in terms of size and weight. Hand-held systems – the smallest among all categories – can be held in the palm of your hand. These include a relatively small display monitor, around the size of a tablet or mobile screen.

While ultrasound imaging technology has progressed over the last few years, the size of the portable ultrasound unit dictates its capability. Comparatively, bigger systems like a laptop or compact systems can encompass a range of technologies and features.

Portable Ultrasound Machines for Small Practices

Portable ultrasound units are grouped into the following four categories, based on their functionality and pricing:

  1. High-end portable ultrasound systems
  2. Mid-range portable ultrasound systems
  3. Economy portable ultrasound systems
  4. Hand-held portable ultrasound machines

As the name indicates, high-end ultrasounds are at the height of the spectrum in terms of both capabilities and price. They provide advanced features and faster processing compared to the other ultrasounds. While some practices benefit from a mid-range and high-end systems, others can function well with an economy or hand-held portable ultrasound unit.

Small practices should aim to look for a few basic features in portable ultrasounds including:

  • Good image quality with speckle reduction and image compounding
  • Dedicated measurements for point-of-care applications
  • Good Ergonomics like robust design
  • Streamlined Workflow features like Auto Optimization
  • Doppler sensitivity
  • DICOM connectivity
  • Full measurement and reporting packages

Here are some of the best portable ultrasound units that you can consider, based on your needs and specialty:

Mindray TE5

Mindray-TE5-ultrasound-machine

The Mindray TE5 ultrasound machine is one of the latest ultrasound systems for physicians. Its slim profile and small footprint mobile cart make it easy to move it from room to room. It’s great for small practices as it has flexible wall mounting and table stand accessories options.

It has exceptional needle guidance with the iNeedle and eSpacial Navi software options. Its wide range of transducers makes it suitable for both superficial and deep tissue imaging. It comes with a 5-year warranty and is perfect for the following specialties:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Family Practice
  • Orthopedics
  • Pain Management
  • Podiatry
  • Rheumatology
  • Surgery
  • Vascular

GE Vscan with Dual Probe

GE-Vscan-Extend-Dual-probe-ultrasound-machine

One of the best things about the GE VScan with Dual Probe is that it has two transducers in one probe, allowing deep and shallow imaging in a wide variety of applications. This hand-held unit is small and lightweight and has DICOM and Wi-Fi capabilities, making it a great on-the-go diagnostic imaging system.

It can be used for both adults and pediatrics in a range of evaluations like triage assessments, routine examinations, procedural guidance, as well as periodic monitoring. It’s designed for the following specialties:

  • Cardiology
  • Family Practice
  • Gastroenterology
  • Vascular

Sonosite M-Turbo

Sonosite-M-Turbo-ultrasound-machine

The SonoSite M-Turbo portable ultrasound machine is an economy portable ultrasound unit that provides high-quality imaging with sharp contrast resolution and clear tissue delineation, versatility, and convenience. It has been tested under extreme conditions and found to be functional even after a 3-ft drop test and is splash resistant. It provides real-time imaging in various modes like 2D, M-Mode, Pulsed Wave Doppler, Continuous Wave Doppler, Color Power Doppler, and color Doppler.

It’s suited for a wide range of applications as given below:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Cardiology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Family Practice
  • Gastroenterology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pain Management
  • Podiatry
  • Rheumatology
  • Surgery
  • Vascular

GE Vivid i

vivid-i-ultrasound-machine

The GE Vivid i ultrasound machine is an ultra-light laptop-style ultrasound that can help provide efficient and high-quality diagnostic imaging on the go. It is compatible with numerous GE ultrasound transducers, helping you provide quality care in a wide range of applications. It has an intuitive user interface, high-resolution LCD monitor, and multiple imaging modes. Here’s a list of the applications that it’s best suited for:

  • Cardiology
  • Family Practice
  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Vascular

Sonosite MicroMaxx

micro-maxx-ultrasound-machine

Don’t be fooled by the compactness of the Sonosite MicroMaxx – a hand-carried unit. Its performance is on par with that of big machines despite its smaller size. It offers speed, reliability, and exceptional quality imaging. This economy range machine is highly suitable for small practices as it takes up little space and has quick booting, in case of emergencies.

It can be used in various modes like 2D, M-Mode, color Doppler, color power Doppler, Tissue Harmonic Imaging, pulsed wave Doppler, and continuous-wave Doppler, to name just a few.

It’s perfect for the following applications:

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Family Practice
  • Cardiac
  • Pediatric
  • Transcranial
  • Gastroenterology
  • Abdominal
  • OB-GYN
  • Podiatry
  • Vascular

GE LOGIQ V2

GE-LOGIQ-V2-ultrasound-machine-on-mobile-cart

GE’s LOGIQ V2 is a high-performance, compact, laptop-based ultrasound machine with enhanced imaging capabilities. It uses several advanced imaging technologies like Coded Harmonics, Speckle Reduction Imaging in High Definition, and CrossXBeam (Spatial Compounding).

Its advanced imaging with decreased image noise and a higher perceived tissue contrast helps detect hyperechoic and hypoechoic lesions in the kidney, liver, spleen, and other organs. It includes five scanning modes: B-Mode, M-Mode, Color Flow, Pulsed Wave, and Power Doppler.

It’s suitable for a wide variety of applications given below:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Family Practice
  • Gastroenterology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pain Management
  • Podiatry
  • Rheumatology
  • Surgery
  • Urology
  • Vascular

Some other portable ultrasound machines worth considering are the GE Vivid q, Mindray DP 30, and the Mindray M6 portable ultrasound machine – it has a system on chip design that helps incorporate complex technologies, combining advanced imaging with miniaturization.

How Much Does a Portable Ultrasound Cost?

Given the wide range of capabilities and applications, the cost of portable ultrasound units varies widely too. These range from around $10,000 to $100,000 for high-end machines. Some hand-held or portable ultrasound scanners that can be connected to a Smartphone, retail for much less but again, the prices will vary.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your ultrasound machine or buy a new one for the first time, National Ultrasound’s team of experts can help you find the right equipment for your practice. We offer a full line of ultrasound equipment including trolley-based and portable ultrasound machines from major manufacturers and have an ultrasound machine for every budget. Contact National Ultrasound today to speak to one of our representatives.