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Mobile Ultrasound Market Needs Trained Sonographers

The global ultrasound market is growing fast, with portable units that produce good images taking center stage in the trend. But at the same time, a shortage of skilled and experienced sonographers could hamper the effective use of this important diagnostic and therapeutic technology.

An international market research and consulting group, reported earlier this year that point-of-care ultrasound is driving ultrasound market. Point-of-care ultrasound is used in emergency, critical care and anesthesiology, specialties which have not traditionally used sonography. The technology has improved at the same time the cost of new, more portable equipment has gone down. Experts expect anesthesiology and musculoskeletal providers will be the fastest growth areas, particularly to improve accuracy of needle placement and to obtain real-time, cost-effective images.

Additionally, emergency physicians are using it to access jugular or other veins. Nurses may use it to find a vein before starting an IV. However, training in the use of the growing variety of portable ultrasound equipment is lacking. The concern is the training of the people using this technology. Too often, these are not sonographers well trained in the field.

Many physician practices use ultrasound in their offices to obtain instant results, perhaps to check if a kidney stone is obstructing urine flow. Often, techs, physicians or other providers with limited training perform the scan.

There’s a movement in medicine to have ultrasound be akin to a stethoscope,But it’s unlikely those folks can get good enough to be better than a trained technician getting a good image read by a radiologist.

The use of skilled sonographers armed with mobile devices, and with radiologists reading the images, has resulted in significant savings and quality care. There is a role for (mobile) ultrasound to help understand what is going on and then to put a treatment plan in place,It is helpful and allows for people to get the care they need at home.

Such home health models of care, when utilizing trained sonographers, offer the potential to improve patient outcomes, ensure quality care and save healthcare dollars, which are the principal objectives of healthcare reform.

 

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