Ultrasound was first used as a diagnostic tool in the early 1900’s, but in the past 50 years it has rapidly evolved into a multi-disciplinary medical tool. Oftentimes, when people think of an ultrasound, they envision a large, bulky machine that gives doctors and expectant parents views of developing fetuses; however, ultrasounds used during pregnancy only account for about 20 percent of the ultrasound market. Ultrasounds are used to diagnose, monitor, and treat multitudes of medical problems from gallstones to cancer. And increased access to ultrasound technology certainly has its benefits. Sonograms, the images produced by the high-frequency sound waves made by an ultrasound machine, offer better images of soft tissue injuries and diseases than x-rays. Ultrasounds are also better at distinguishing a solid mass from a fluid-filled growth, as each produces a different echo. Happily, rapid advances in ultrasound technology have made it so the large, bulky machines are no longer the only option available to create these high quality images.
Over the past 10 years or so, the technology has become increasingly miniaturized. Manufacturers and engineers are making ultrasound machines that can be carried to patients in emergency situations, or used in office environments. These smaller, portable machines allow for faster, yet still accurate, diagnosis of what is going on in a distressed body, which is especially valuable to professionals on battlefields, to EMT’s, for use at sporting events, and even for astronauts in space. Beyond emergency situations, ultrasound has many other points of care applications. For instance, before surgery or in an ICU, many anesthesiologists will use ultrasound to guide the injection of a regional anesthetic or nerve blocks. Being able to see into the body allows for a more precise needle insertion with fewer attempts and much less bruising.
With a more compact, portable scanner able to provide the same high quality images as a larger machine, the possibilities rapidly expand. For one, it means medical teams no longer have to rely on a single machine, when a department or institution can purchase many smaller scanners with lower price tags. More and more, physicians are becoming aware of the potential of ultrasounds and are being trained on how to better utilize them in their practices. Projections indicate that within the next decade, increasing numbers of doctors, general practitioners, and medical offices will own their own ultrasound machines. Smaller, portable machines require less valuable space to house machinery with the additional benefit of being able to easily move the machine from room to room, obviating the need for a patient to wait for room availability or the inconvenience of being sent to another facility.
Today’s patients want to be more involved in their diagnosis and want to be able to visualize when something is wrong, and as such, are willing to accept the need for an ultrasound. Having portable machines available when necessary helps patients understand their illnesses better, and patients that are more knowledgeable about what they are experiencing are more likely to be involved in the treatment phase and are more likely to take the necessary steps to treat their illness. When the diagnosis is not tangible to the patient, he or she may go into denial and refuse to perform treatments prescribed. Facilitating patient involvement through the use of ultrasound can ultimately provide a more successful outcome for the patient.
Portable ultrasound machines afford physicians and other medical professionals the opportunity to actively engage the patient and keep them focused, assisting in relaying diagnosis and course of treatment recommendations in a visual manner more readily understood by the patient. This, combined with the increased efficacy of patient consultations, leads to increased patient care satisfaction. And satisfied patients are more likely to follow through on treatment plans, leading to better patient outcomes and, oftentimes, favorable mentions of your level of service and quality of care. More productive patient appointments may also allow for more patients to be seen, thereby contributing to the overall growth of the practice.
As with full size ultrasound machines, portable units are available with many options to accommodate the needs of your office. Absolute Medical carries 2D, 3D, and 4D ultrasound machines and probes that can be used for performing cardiac, echo, vascular, and OB/GYN studies and more. We know how important it is that you find great value for your portable ultrasound equipment purchase; that the right machine will have the features and portability you need, at the best possible price. Which is why, in addition to a broad selection of full size ultrasound machines, we also offer numerous brands and models of portable ultrasound machines for you to choose from.