The fast development of computer technology, with its endless growth of worldwide connectivity processing times and massive storage capacity, affects all areas of our lives. The same evolution in speed, power and miniaturization have occurred in ultrasound. The development of other technologies and microprocessors has allowed ultrasound units to become eventually more compact and more portable.
Therefore, over the last few years, smaller ultrasound devices have been developed to the stage where many units weigh only a fraction of what the first prototypes used to weigh. Such type of technology, mixed with a lower cost of fabrication, has decreased the hurdle for entry into ultrasound usage by physicians.
While there is till date not such a wide range of handheld ultrasound for sale on the market, more and more companies have started investing in this kind of technology which may eventually result in most doctors owning their own devices while working.
Where Did It Come From?
The whole idea behind the portable ultrasounds devices started from a project of the US Government-Defense Advance-Research Project Agency (DARPA) to research a potential portable machine that would help army medical teams to diagnose quickly injuries in the field.
Some Concrete Medical Application of These Devices
Radiology uses specific versions of these units to give an optimal service to patients. In some models, all images are stored in picture achieving and communications systems (PACS) for review and follow-up examinations, and also saved for comparison in a PACS with earlier exams or exams from an external database.
All of those images are accordingly ready and available for quality assurance functions, possible clinical use or eventual researches. It is important that the pictures are kept in a central archive which is accessible by all hospital users.
While the actual devices are now easily obtainable, some more research needs to be done, not only for possible improvement that could be made to these units but also on how to implement and combine handheld ultrasound for sale into teaching applications and also to examine learning and understanding.