Not too long ago, the idea of creating pictures using sounds seemed impossible. Now, ultrasound technology is being called the ‘stethoscope’ of medicine. Recently, there has been an overwhelming amount of interest in point-of-care ultrasound and this new technology has changed the course of diagnostic healthcare.
What is Point-of-Care Ultrasound? Point-of-Care ultrasound refers to the use of portable technology for the purpose of diagnosis and therapy at the patient’s bedside. In the past 25 years, point-of-care ultrasound has proved to be a fast, accurate, noninvasive, inexpensive method of diagnosis. It has become common practice to use this technology during regular checkups and in emergency trauma patients as well.
Here are some of the ways that point-of-care ultrasound is changing healthcare:
Lowers costs. With the rapid advancement of technology, the cost of healthcare is also decreasing. Currently, the newer portable ultrasound devices being contrasted are focused on lowering the cost of the device by changing transducer design. The transmission of ultrasound images has even been successful in handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Saves time. Portable and point-of-care ultrasound means that healthcare professionals can have easy access to ultrasound technology. This makes detection of disease easier and quicker. The emergency team at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto has several stories to share where point-of-care ultrasound has lead to the quick detection of rare congenital disease, heart conditions, or cancers.
Accessible. Point-of-care ultrasound’s easy-to-use design allows it to be useful for non-certified individuals. With a little bit of training, these devices can serve as an essential tool for all healthcare professionals. Transfer of these ultrasound imaging has also made remote monitoring of patients extremely simple and convenient.
Improves care. The pediatric emergency medical unit at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto has been using point-of-care ultrasound for 25-30% of cases coming through. Doctors at this hospital feel that the use of point-of-care ultrasound has improved the care of patients by making it easier and quicker to detect abnormalities.
The benefits of point-of-care ultrasound are plenty and new technology is constantly emerging and innovating this technology. The healthcare field must invest time in training healthcare professionals to efficiently use this technology and reap the benefits of portable ultrasound devices.