WHO defined telemedicine as the delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor. Lack of qualified doctors and technicians has led to the development of a new type of telemedicine device, i.e., teleultrasound. It permits ultrasound examinations to be performed remotely. Teleultrasound has evolved over the past decade incrementally, with regard to technology.
Philips recently launched its teleultrasound system, Lumify, in March 2018. Lumify is designed to work with compatible smart devices. The product was developed through a collaboration with Innovative Imaging Technologies. The advancements in technology in the area and launch of new devices make teleultrasound an interesting market that is set to rapidly grow in the near future. Some of the other products include iMedHD2 by Remote Medical Technologies, and portable 3D ultrasound by Zycorlabs. Some of the other companies that offer teleultrasound systems include AdEchoTech, Robo Medical, T-MedRobotics, and others.
The lack of skilled labor that include doctors and technicians in remote areas of developing and third world countries demand the need for telemedicine to cater to the medical needs of these areas. Furthermore, the need for such systems in emergency medicine so as to address the patients within the golden one hour trauma also fuels the growth of the market. However, the image quality and lag in the image transfer are some drawbacks of the system that may hinder the market growth slightly. New developments such as the real time teleultrasound systems such as the recently launched Lumify that uses satellite to transfer the image to the destination real time.
Many a times, especially in remote areas where hospitals are not easily accessible, teleultrasound resolves the issue. It ensures easy access to consultations without the risk involved in travelling the large distances. For instance, remote areas in third world countries can access medical consultation at their local health center even if the center does not have a medical expert in the region. The remote access to the ultrasound images could be accessed by the experts across the globe.
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Ultrasound is the well suited mode for the assessment of fetal problems since it is the safest mode due to the lack of exposure to ionizing radiation. However, geographically isolated patients may have limited access to ultrasound. Telemedicine is a suitable that may address this problem. Furthermore, teleultrasound also eliminates the need for unnecessary travel and associated risks