Smartphone-based ultrasound VistaScan gets FDA nod

The software can be used on a clinician's smartphone or tablet.
By Laura Lovett
01:41 pm
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Last week the FDA greenlighted the ultrasound app VistaScan from Emagine Solutions Technology. 

The new software app can be used on a doctor's cellphone or tablet. It can also connect with companion ultrasound probes, which are already FDA cleared. 

The company previously partnered with the Red Cross to assist women with prenatal scans, according to a video on the company’s website.

WHY IT MATTERS 

Traditional ultrasound systems can be tens of thousands of dollars and are fairly large. Digital health companies have been looking to use tech to cut down the costs, and to make the systems lighter for different use cases. 

"With VistaScan a clinician can diagnose a patient in the field or in transit or at the bedside in moments, save time and cost 90% less [...] than a traditional cart based ultra sound," Courtney Williams, cofounder and CEO of Emagine Solutions, said during a video posted on the company’s website. "Ultrasounds are not just about women's health, it also applies to emergency healthcare as well. In an emergency trauma situation, over 90% of EMS vehicles do not have ultrasound equipment available to them, and that can be a life-o- death situation for the patient on the gurney."

THE LARGER TREND 

Innovators are finding ways around the traditional cart-based ultrasounds, with smartphone-based ultrasounds like these dating back more than a decade. In fact, in 2009 researchers from Washington University announced developing a new ultrasound-based probe with a Windows smartphone. 

Since then new smartphone-based ultrasound systems have popped up on the market. One of the best known is Butterfly IQ, which landed clearance in 2017 and costs under $2,000. Last August the University of California at Irvine Medical School gifted all of its incoming class a Butterfly handheld ultrasound device. 

ExoMobisante and Clarius Mobile Health are other contenders in the digital ultrasound space. 

ON THE RECORD 

"The velocity and complexity of modern medicine is becoming overwhelming, and putting the power of ultrasound into the pockets of clinicians so they can use it for real time diagnosis right at the bedside is liberating and transformative," Dr. Berndt Schmit, section chief of emergency radiology at Banner University Medical Center at the University of Arizona and president of Humanitarian Radiology Development Corps, said in a statement provided by the Emagine Soultions.