What You Should Know:
- Exo, a pioneering medical imaging software and devices company, today released its 2023 Survey Report: Unlocking Point-of-Care Ultrasound.
- Based on a survey of more than 150 U.S.-based physicians, the report uncovers trends related to point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) adoption and use—such as challenges with existing solutions, their perceived value of handheld POCUS devices, and the impact of new innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) on medical imaging and ultrasound expansion into primary care.
Understanding Trends Related to Point-of-care Ultrasound (POCUS) Adoption
Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) offers immediate medical insights crucial for diagnosis and treatment, yet its widespread adoption faces obstacles. Exo’s 2023 survey explores the reasons behind this inertia and identifies factors that could drive broader implementation. Survey findings reveal that POCUS adoption is hindered by insufficient infrastructure, primarily manifested in challenges related to poor image quality and integration with hospital IT systems. This leads to difficulties in training caregivers and cumbersome processes for documenting, storing, and billing exams, resulting in underreported and unbilled ultrasound scans. The survey emphasizes the need for an end-to-end solution in medical imaging infrastructure rather than a device-only approach.
Handheld POCUS devices emerge as a solution for underserved communities due to their simplicity, lower cost, and portability. Survey respondents overwhelmingly believe that the availability of handheld POCUS will significantly enhance adoption. The portability of these devices addresses the lack of access to essential health services, especially medical imaging, for over half of the global population. Handheld POCUS can be utilized in diverse settings, from ambulances to rural areas and homes, leading to improved patient outcomes and a more positive caregiver experience at the point of care.
The survey underscores the perception that artificial intelligence (AI) is integral to the future of ultrasound. AI-equipped POCUS devices, drawing from extensive databases, can aid caregivers during image capture and interpretation. This promises to expedite the learning curve, allowing more caregivers to use ultrasound in various locations. A significant majority of respondents see AI positively impacting POCUS, particularly in streamlining image interpretation, reducing operator dependence, and enhancing imaging accuracy, reliability, and consistency.
Primary care emerges as a significant arena for widespread ultrasound adoption, given its role as the initial point of contact for many patients. Handheld ultrasound devices, with their greater accessibility, affordability, and portability, are seen as ideal for smaller, remote primary care offices with limited budgets. The survey indicates a consensus that primary care providers should adopt handheld POCUS devices, with an unexpected 50% foreseeing mainstream use within the next five years. With advancements like AI and user-friendly handheld devices, the survey suggests an inevitable trend toward increased utilization of imaging by caregivers in diverse locations.
“POCUS is critical for a more equitable and healthier world. These survey results validate just how severely caregivers are craving a new medical imaging approach. That’s why Exo has built a simple and accessible ecosystem to deliver immediate answers at the point of care,” said Sandeep Akkaraju, CEO and Co-Founder of Exo. “Our ecosystem combines high-performance imaging to retrieve instant answers in any setting, workflow software to seamlessly document and bill ultrasound exams in seconds from anywhere, and AI to easily acquire consistent and accurate images in real-time. Medical imaging as we know it has entered a new age.”