Posted by Carolyn Fishman
New medical imaging technology holds the promise of benefiting more people than ever before. Exciting innovations in the field are bringing down the costs of diagnostic imaging to make it more accessible to patients around the world.
This low cost ultrasound scanner being developed at Newcastle University is just one example of the fascinating work being done to transform the medical imaging industry. The handheld device was designed to be portable, easy to use, and affordable for use in developing countries and anywhere else that a traditional ultrasound is still considered too costly.
Just like existing ultrasound scanners, it uses pulses of high frequency sound to transmit an image of an unborn baby to a computer screen. Unlike existing ultrasound scanners, it does not cost between $30,000 and $160,000. In fact, one of these potentially life-saving devices can be manufactured for as little as what it costs to fill up your car with a tank of gas. The new scanner is about the size of a computer mouse and can be connected to any computer with a USB.
At DICOM Grid, we’re always excited to hear about these type of advancements that can work hand-in-hand with cloud-based medical image exchanges such as ours. Once this new scanner is deployed to the remote corners of the world, technicians will need a way to quickly and easily share the images with doctors and hospitals that are thousands of miles away. With a cloud-based solution, those studies can be instantly and securely transmitted and viewed with just a few clicks of the mouse.
The combination of these two technologies has the power to transform healthcare in developing countries. The U.N. estimates that over 250,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, 99 percent of these cases occurring in developing countries. So many of these deaths could be prevented with an ultrasound and the ability to share the study with the right doctor. Soon a mother-to-be living in a remote village in Africa can have an ultrasound and within minutes, the results can be in the hands of a doctor thousands of miles away.
This is the future of medical imaging and we are thrilled to be a part of it.