Ohad Araj President and Chief Executive Officer, Clarius.
Are you using the full capabilities of ultrasound to help your patients?
Ultrasound technology helps physicians diagnose and treat patients in a variety of specialties, from pain management to plastic surgery, needle guidance to diagnostics. An ultrasound was even found to diagnose her Covid-19 more accurately than a nasal swab. But it’s only when ultrasound gets out of the radiology department and into the hands of medical professionals that its full potential is realized.
Fortunately, that’s all changed. Today, an ecosystem of technology-first companies is working to unlock the full potential of ultrasound and provide better and easier ways to treat patients. In the future of ultrasound, every clinician will have access to this technology and apply it to their specialty. But where did ultrasound technology come from and how is it evolving to create tomorrow’s accessible future?
Evolution of ultrasonic technology
Today’s medical device industry is seeing rapid advances in capabilities and care as technology leaders bring their expertise to advancements and integrations. Ultrasound technology is also advancing rapidly, which is good news for practitioners looking to better serve their patients. Here is the overall evolution of where ultrasound technology is coming from and going.
Ultrasound technology was most recently invented in 1956 as a non-invasive method to unlock insight into the human body. However, ultrasound machines are bulky and expensive cart-based systems that take up a lot of space and are difficult to move. As such, they were primarily confined to radiology, cardiology, and obstetrics for diagnostic purposes. Patients had to go to an ultrasound system, limiting the use and application of ultrasound.
Nearly 20 years ago, portable point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) systems were introduced, bringing ultrasound imaging to the bedside. Initially, however, these laptop-based systems were primarily used by emergency medicine and critical care physicians. Years of training were required to become proficient in using the system and interpreting the images. However, the use of PoCUS has expanded to more hospital departments and office-based professionals, such as procedural guidance for anesthesia, surgery, and pain management applications, showing practitioners the benefits of ultrasound beyond radiology.
Over the past eight years, handheld ultrasound systems have become the fastest growing segment in the ultrasound market, estimated to reach $2.5 billion by 2026. Handheld devices also remove some barriers to entry. Many handheld systems cost a fraction of the cost of laptop or cart-based systems, resulting in savings of 60% to 90%. They are easy to use, take up little space and can be carried in a pocket. Many handheld ultrasound systems also offer image quality comparable to most mid-range conventional ultrasound systems. Due to the need to replace older systems, many specialists, including orthopedic surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists who prefer a more portable wireless system, are switching to high-definition handheld options for their practice.
More work needs to be done to lower the learning curve for novice users to use ultrasound images, even for handheld systems. Even for advanced users, optimizing images takes time and attention and takes your eyes off the patient. Artificial imaging (AI) is therefore the key to unlocking the enormous potential of handheld ultrasound by automatically optimizing image quality and guiding the user in probe positioning. For example, handheld ultrasound machines can use AI to automatically capture high-quality images of any part of the body. A clinician simply positions the scanner over a portion of the abdomen and the app automatically detects organs and optimizes images without intervention. Research shows that using ultrasound with AI capabilities improves a practitioner’s accuracy and reduces her false positives by 37.3%.
Today, some handheld ultrasounds are the size of an iPhone, cost just a few thousand dollars, and can provide diagnostic and treatment options for specialists in pain management, aesthetic medicine, and more. The good news is that the ultrasound market has changed over the last few decades, from expensive and cumbersome systems that some people used to a myriad of more affordable, like small handheld systems that can be used by any medical institution. It’s a move to more options. A specialty that improves patient care. This latest evolution in ultrasound is driven by an ecosystem of players who are shaping the future of patient care using technological advances such as AI.
What’s in store for the future of ultrasound
Ultrasound technology realizes its full potential through an ecosystem of partners ready to create specialized solutions and applications. And with an open platform that allows vendors to integrate third-party innovations, ultrasound will be able to reach its full potential faster. By focusing on complete solutions over stand-alone hardware, ultrasound innovators can lower the barriers to entry for education, image acquisition, interpretation, and procedural guidance.
Are you harnessing the full power of ultrasound to help your patients? Start today to better serve your patients with ultrasound, but also build the future of ultrasound technology for tomorrow It also helps to
The Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. am i eligible?