The reason I got into technology was because I wanted some medical ebooks and references on my Nokia Symbian smartphone back when I was still studying for my PharmD degree in 2006. I tend to forget that sometimes and it's easy for me to get lost in the mobile world and its platform wars, app updates, nitty gritty OS changes, and long lists of flagship specifications. But I'm often reminded of why I loved this whole field in the first place thanks to new and fascinating uses of mobile technology in medicine. And thankfully, this is happening more and more frequently as time passes. We're now seeing more Bluetooth-connected medical equipment and more health-aimed apps and gadgets than ever before.
Take this mobile handheld ultrasound that Clarius Mobile Health is introducing. It's small and portable and it connects wirelessly with Android and iOS to transfer the scanned results back to the phone's screen where they can be viewed, manipulated, and saved. It's certainly not the first mobile-connected ultrasound I've come across: the MobiUS SP1 claims that title, but it uses a Toshiba TG01 running Windows Mobile 6.5!
The press release and Clarius' site are very thin on details, but they do claim that the connection is a "secure point-to-point wireless network" (likely an ad-hoc WiFi hotspot), that the gain and frequency settings are automated for easy use, and that the ultrasound images are high-resolution and "as good as the best traditional point-of-care systems." Here's an introductory video from the company (beware, the iPhone love is high in this one).
That isn't much, but it's enough to keep everyone interested, from private practice doctors to hospital managers with hundreds of rooms to cover, emergency medical services, healthcare providers in rural areas, and war-zone surgeons and doctors. Ultrasounds can make an incredible difference and save lives in all of these settings and with all of these practitioners.
Neither pricing nor availability has been disclosed, though Clarius did say the following:
Compact ultrasound systems for use at the bedside have become the norm in most hospitals and many private clinics. But with costs ranging from $25,000 to $70,000 for a high quality system, price has been a barrier for more widespread adoption. Pending regulatory clearance from the FDA, CE and Health Canada, Clarius Mobile Health will offer several mobile scanners for the price of a single traditional compact system.
The company is showing the scanner off at the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) conference in NYC.