Feature | May 08, 2015

ECRI Institute Releases Comprehensive Guide to Point-of-Care Ultrasound

Resource explores different types of portable scanners, potential applications

ECRI Institute, point-of-care ultrasound, POC, guide

May 8, 2015 — As the use of point-of-care (POC) ultrasound continues to expand throughout hospitals and clinics, the ECRI Institute has released a new guide to the modality for practitioners. The document explains the difference between POC and traditional ultrasound, the different types of POC ultrasound units and the numerous applications for the technology.  

By definition, POC ultrasound refers to the use of medical ultrasound by the treating physician, as opposed to referring the patient to an ultrasound specialist. Typically, POC ultrasound is employed to answer a specific clinical question during an appointment. Using this technique, physicians can quickly determine whether an abnormality is present so that they can make patient management decisions. This also eliminates the need for separate follow-up examinations.

POC ultrasound systems are usually small, portable units, which are easier to move and more cost-effective than the traditional cart models. According to the ECRI Institute, there are three main types of portable scanners:

  • Handheld scanners are compact enough to be held in one hand during use while the transducer is held in the other hand. Compared to other portable ultrasound systems, these pocket-size devices have the fewest features and imaging capabilities, and therefore have a more limited range of applications. Typically, these models do not support interchangeable transducers, nor do they possess some ultrasound modes (e.g., pulsed-wave Doppler). Furthermore, handheld scanners do not have many of the user-adjustable parameter controls available with other types of scanners.
  • Laptop-style scanners are the most complex type of portable scanners. They frequently have many of the same features and capabilities found on cart-based systems such as advanced analysis packages and three-dimensional ultrasound capabilities. In some cases, the only difference between conventional cart-based scanners and laptop-style scanners is that the latter are more compact, lack certain ergonomic features and may not be compatible with specialized transducers.
  • Tablet-style scanners, as their name implies, resemble tablet computers and have similar user-interface features, including touchscreen-activated controls positioned around the screen on which the ultrasound image is displayed. Although tablet-style scanners can be carried from one location to another, they are commonly attached to a wheeled stand or cart to facilitate portability and ease of use. Compared to handheld models, tablet scanners provide the user with more options in terms of transducers, parameter adjustments and imaging capabilities. However, compared to laptop-style or cart-based scanners, tablet scanners aren’t as fully featured and do not support as many different types of transducers.

 

The different types of scanners can be applied to a number of different specialties, including:

  • Cardiology (assessment for pericardial effusion)
  • Family medicine/general practitioner (screen for abdominal aortic aneurysms)
  • Hospitalists/ICU/CCU (guide central venous line placement)

 

According to ECRI, POC ultrasound is also routinely used to guide interventional procedures such as therapeutic injection of medications, and POC ultrasound scanners commonly have features that facilitate use for these interventions.

The ECRI Institute is an independent nonprofit organization that conducts research into the most effective approaches for improving patient care.  

For more information: www.ecri.org

Related Content

Philips Introduces Technology Maximizer Program for Imaging Equipment Upgrades
Technology | Imaging | January 17, 2018
January 17, 2018 — Philips recently announced the launch of Technology Maximizer, a cross-modality program designed t
New Vascular Ultrasound Registry Looks to Enhance Patient Care
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | January 17, 2018
The Society for Vascular Ultrasound (SVU), the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and Medstreaming-M2S announced the...
Sponsored Content | Videos | Ultrasound Imaging | January 11, 2018
Mindray recently featured a new upgrade for its premium Resona 7 ultrasound system at the Radiological Society of North...
New International Report Provides Comprehensive Guide to Imaging in Chagas Heart Disease
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | January 03, 2018
Chagas disease (ChD), an infectious parasitic disease transmitted primarily by triatomine insects, has become a...
Toshiba Medical Introduces New Entry-Level Aplio i600 Ultrasound Platform
News | Ultrasound Imaging | December 21, 2017
Toshiba Medical, a Canon Group company, showcased the Aplio i600, the newest addition to the premium Aplio i-series...
Bay Labs Completes $5.5 Million Series A Financing for AI-Driven Ultrasound
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | December 21, 2017
December 21, 2017 — Bay Labs, a medical technology company applying...
Videos | RSNA 2017 | December 20, 2017
ITN and DAIC Editor Dave Fornell takes a tour of some of the most interesting new medical imaging technologies on the
GE and NVIDIA Unveil Artificial Intelligence Upgrades to CT, Ultrasound and Analytics Solutions
Technology | Artificial Intelligence | December 14, 2017
At the 2017 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting, GE Healthcare and NVIDIA announced a series of...
Hitachi Highlights Arietta 850 Premium Ultrasound System at RSNA 2017
News | Ultrasound Imaging | December 05, 2017
Hitachi Healthcare exhibited their latest premium ultrasound system, the Arietta 850, at the 2017 Radiological Society...
Toshiba Medical Rolls Out Interactive Learning Tools for Ultrasound and Vascular Training
News | Ultrasound Imaging | December 04, 2017
Toshiba Medical, a Canon Group company, introduced new educational tools and interactive learning resources to help...
Overlay Init