Ultrasound imaging has been an important diagnostic procedure for decades. Having an ultrasound typically means scheduling or referring a patient for a special imaging appointment, having an imaging technician complete the ultrasound, then shuffling the images back for diagnosis. While a portable ultrasound system is not a replacement for larger imaging equipment, it can be a very beneficial device for general medicine.
More thorough examination
Portable ultrasound equipment is very useful for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with internal injuries or ailments. Seeing internal structures can lead to more accurate and timely diagnoses, leading to quicker and more relevant treatment.
Transparency and trust
Being able to share ultrasound images with patients -- and discuss what they mean -- can lead to more openness and trust between patients and physicians. Portable ultrasound systems can be an incredible tool for this because you can show the patient what's going on inside his or her body immediately instead of waiting for an imaging appointment and transfer of images and information. Providing on-the-spot information to a patient can go a long way for building rapport and trust.
A bedside or portable ultrasound is not a replacement for a full-scale scan, but it can be an important complement to the larger radiology department. Performing a beside ultrasound when it wouldn't be necessary to order a more thorough ultrasound can help to detect problems that might be missed by other traditional examination methods. This, in turn, leads to quicker and more comprehensive treatment options for patients.
Because portable ultrasound can help you discover important diagnostic information immediately, it can help to minimize the chance of misdiagnosis or taking educated guesses. Traditionally, a patient requiring an ultrasound would be moved to another department (or scheduled for another day), where a technician would spend up to several hours working on the imaging, then passing the information back to the patient's primary care team. Using a portable ultrasound system for more routine assessment can save a lot of time, since information is delivered immediately instead of hours or days later. This can help to reduce or eliminate improper or shot-in-the-dark treatments.
Portable ultrasound machines are a relatively new advancement in medicine. At this time, they are generally not meant to be a replacement for traditional, large imaging equipment, but rather a complement. There are many benefits to incorporating portable ultrasound machines into everyday diagnostic medicine, which can help to provide more thorough and timely treatment for patients.