Ultrasounds are becoming faster and more accurate due to a collaboration between Samsung Medison and Intel that can deliver fetal measurements in approximately 85 milliseconds with over 97% accuracy.
Two of Samsung’s existing ultrasound technologies, the BiometryAssist and LaborAssist, now feature Intel’s Core i3 processor, OpenVINO toolkit and OpenCV library, which can provide almost instantaneous fetal and maternal measurements.
“Having these measurements done automatically using AI, using this deep learning, makes it not only very quick, but very reproducible and accurate,” Dan Monaghan, the senior director of ultrasound sales for Samsung NeuroLogica, told MobiHealthNews. “So if you’re a sonographer doing 10, or 12, or 15 scans a day, that’s huge.”
BiometryAssist with Intel OpenVINO toolkit can obtain four different fetal measurements – biparietal diameter, femur length, head circumference and abdominal circumference – with up to 99% accuracy in less than half a second with a click of a button.
With the addition of Intel’s software, LaborAssist takes measurements of the fetal angle of progression and head direction in less than 1.5 seconds. Using this information, clinicians can visualize the fetal descent and labor process to determine the safest delivery method.
“So it is useful for explaining to the patient and her family how the labor is progressing using ultrasound images, which show the change of head station during labor,” said Dr. Min Jeong Oh, a professor at the Korea University Guro Hospital, in a statement. “It is expected to be of great assistance in the assessment of labor progression and decision-making for delivery.”
WHY THIS MATTERS
Employee burnout is a common problem in the healthcare industry, especially for sonographers. Factors such as high workload, having brief amounts of time to spend with each patient and understaffing are common contributors to sonographer burnout, according to research from Ultrasound.
Respondents from a survey conducted by the Society and College of Radiographers that looked at ultrasound exam lengths found that many sonographers feel pressured by the time expectations put on them.
One response said, “Times quoted do not allow for the fact that emergencies and extras are squeezed in between the allocated scans, therefore reducing the actual scanning time for each patient. Breaks are not given for staff, except lunch. But it is usually a struggle to get 15-20 minutes for lunch! Feel very rushed, worried about making mistakes. Not enough time to give to the patient to make them feel cared for. No wonder they complain of feeling like cattle, or just a number!!”
Speeding up the measurement process allows sonographers to spend more time talking with their patients, Intel said in its announcement.
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, getting measurements back faster to allow for shortened examinations is crucial, according to Monaghan.
“Exam time is a big one, especially now with COVID-19 and everything,” he said. “Trying to limit the patient's exposure during the time that they’re there, so anything we can do to try to hasten that and make it more accurate, is great. This kind of technology really lends itself to that.”
THE LARGER TREND
Beyond this advancement, Samsung and Intel have said they are working together on new ultrasound technologies, and on an ultrasound platform.
Others in the space include Caption Health, which recently closed a $53 million Series B funding round for its AI ultrasound guidance software; Emagine Solutions Technology, which got FDA approval for its VistaScan smartphone-based ultrasound; Butterfly Network, which also produces a smartphone ultrasound system; and Philips, which launched its prenatal monitoring platforms in the U.S. after relaxed regulatory guidelines caused by the pandemic.
ON THE RECORD
“If we can shorten procedure times, if we can help reduce complicated deliveries, clearly we’re going to bring down the cost of healthcare, and we’re going to increase the quality of life for moms and their babies,” Monaghan said.
Building a Solid Foundation for Transformation
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