Taking Telemedicine to the Next Logical Step
By MedTech Outlook | Wednesday, April 17, 2019
In today's growing technological market, prefacing the use of a portable ultrasound machine is a big deal, given its far-reaching advantages. Many professionals adopt portable ultrasound machines to meet the demanding requirements of clean imagery, smooth functionality, and options for portability. The portable ultrasound machines reduce a patient’s discomfort in physically moving around in the hospital and waiting for their turn for hours.
Butterfly Network, a company based in Guilford, Connecticut, has introduced its portable ultrasound system Butterfly iQ at the CES 2019 and has received FDA clearance. It consists of a portable transducer which connects directly to an iPhone and an iOS app for displaying images and controlling settings. It allows the patient to take their own ultrasound as the physician analyzes the image over a video chat in real time.
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Due to an ultra-wideband matrix array, the device actually works as three different transducers. This enables a clinician to perform several different scans and to be applicable in various clinical settings for the Butterfly iQ. The micro-electromechanical (MEMS) sensor matrix array is integrated directly into an integrated circuit containing all the necessary electronics. This tight integration is supposed to result in a fast, high-resolution device capable of performing tasks that only a few short years ago were capable of full-size ultrasound machines.
The major advantage of Butterfly iQ is that it costs less than $2,000. The previous portable, handheld ultrasounds have often been priced at over $10,000. Although the FDA approved the technology, the mobile ultrasound machine is only cleared for medical-professional use. In addition, the company behind the device, Butterfly Network, is enhancing the software from anywhere with the doctor to enable real-time analysis. And coming in for hospitals at a lower cost, the Butterfly iQ may motivate people to come in for advanced screenings and, if necessary, get on the way to care.
The company is also building a fully AI-based software program to help an untrained person to take the ultrasound, and the file can then be sent to a professional for the test evaluation.