by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | March 28, 2018
Butterfly Network Inc. is branching out into the realm of telemedicine with the unveiling of its Butterfly Tele-Guidance technology at the 2018 AIUM Annual Convention.
Available on Butterfly iQ, the world’s first whole-body ultrasound imaging solution and ultrasound-on-a-chip-based imaging system, the technology offers augmented reality capabilities that enable experts to virtually guide novice users in conducting basic and challenging ultrasound scans, creating the potential to expand medical expertise in ultrasound performance worldwide for diagnosis and preventive care.
“Before, testing used to be a destination. I used to go somewhere for tests,” John Martin, chief medical officer told HCB News. “Now, you don’t. You don’t have to wait for a study because the study’s in your pocket. You don’t have to wait for an answer because the answer is in your hand.”
Only a portion of the estimated 40 million health care workers across the globe are trained and knowledgeable in capturing and interpreting ultrasound scans which, along with the expenses of such equipment, limit its accessibility in both the developed world and low-resource countries.
Using a smart phone, experts can watch and guide novice practitioners as they conduct exams with arrows appearing around the probe on the screen to help the expert assess and instruct the user on its proper movements.
Such commands are delivered to the person administering the exam by clicking on a series of screen arrow icons. The technology also is equipped with presets for different parts of the body such as the lungs, kidneys and heart.
Experts can record and freeze the screen and also control gain and depth, as well as provide feedback to users such as the need for more gel, to apply pressure or to use shorter movements.
Martin says recent suggestions to make ultrasound a component of primary physician examinations make this technology all the more necessary for creating a faster, more immediate source of care delivery without having to make a trip to the physician in-person.
“My new measure of success is not readmission or emergency visits for, let’s say, heart failure, but doctor-free days. How do I never see you?,” he told HCB News.
Butterfly iQ, cleared
by the FDA in October, connects with iPhones to provide high-quality images in diagnostic procedures. Equipped with 13 device clearances as well as cloud and AI features, the device is slated for release in 2018 with a cost of less than $2000.
Butterfly Tele-Guidance technology is only available for investigational and educational purposes.