Compact ultrasound, Portable ultrasound machine, hand-held ultrasound system….. regardless of which name you use, the general category is still the same: small, laptop-sized ultrasound machine that, in most models, packs as much punch as its cart-based brothers. Recently I sat down with sonographer Grace Smith, RDMS (AB, OB/Gyn and RVT), ARRT – RT(R), owner of NWI Mobile Ultrasound to get her perspective on compact ultrasound machines.
Question: What is your background with ultrasound and experience level with both cart-based and portable ultrasound systems?
Answer: I have been a sonographer for a decade now, registered in OB, Abdominal, and Vascular, and have worked in the hospital setting for 5 years, including hospitals such as Johns Hopkins. I was the Program Director for ultrasound at Sanford-Brown College, and most recently have started my own mobile imaging company. While working in the hospital settings, I used a full-sized ultrasound system. However, I have seen excellent technology changes in portable ultrasound systems that make them comparable to the larger hospital-based systems.
Question: In your experience do you see the portable ultrasound market growing?
Answer: Yes, it’s definitely a growing industry. Unfortunately, there are many physicians who are not aware of the excellent image quality portable units provide. Some portable ultrasound machines are better than others, i.e. more powerful imaging, but in general, when compared to the larger systems, they hold their own.
Question: What are your thoughts on the SonoSite machines compared to the Toshiba Viamo portable ultrasound system?
Answer: I’ve used both systems in my mobile business and although the SonoSite has great image quality it lacks some features that the Viamo has. Our company provides sonograms of the heart (echocardiograms), abdomen, OB/GYN, Vascular including extremities, small parts, musculoskeletal and nerve blocks so we really need an ultrasound machine that can do everything well. We found this to be the case with the Toshiba Viamo and we especially like how user-friendly the system is with its unique touch-screen capability.
Question: It sounds like you have really embraced the laptop ultrasound market. What advice would you give to anyone looking to buy a portable ultrasound machine?
Answer: Well, as sonographers, we are required to go to school and complete the education and skills needed to acquire great diagnostic images. For physicians, I would suggest hiring a trained sonographer or acquiring the necessary education and scanning skills to get quality diagnostic images. This also includes learning the physics of ultrasound. Only trained personnel should scan patients.
To learn more about NWI Mobile ultrasound, please visit their website www.nwimobileultrasound.com. To discuss our portable ultrasound solutions, give us a call at 877.490.7036 or visit our website at www.umiultrasound.com and request a FREE online virtual demo!