MD+DI: Portable Equipment Could Benefit Point-of-Care Healthcare

Dr. Renee Dversdal, Chief Medical Officer at Vave Health, says that COVID has demonstrated the utility of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). “In a surge there simply aren’t enough portable radiograph units to image every central line placement or respiratory status change. Nor are there enough staff to move these patients to a CT scanner, or environmental services employees to clean said scanner, etc. POCUS contributes to patient care in many ways beyond the lungs as well.”

Portable equipment could also preserve PPE. “Every mask, every gown, every face shield was precious when we didn’t know if/when more were coming,” Dversdal. “Leaving a room to go get an ultrasound cart-based system not only requires clinician time, which is already short, but more PPE. Entering a COVID patient room with an ultraportable machine, gel packet, and phone/tablet allows the clinician to just enter once, fully assess their patient, ultrasound if needed, and sanitize all on the way out. Additionally, devices that can ‘cast’ can share images with a learner or other clinicians just on the other side of the door.”

Such “image sharing and collaboration amongst clinicians can reduce exposures and improve patient care,” Dversdal continued. “Cardiomyopathy is a known complication associated with severe COVID infections, however, a full echocardiogram is lengthy and requires an echocardiographer to use additional PPE (beyond the primary care team), and be in close proximity to patients while completing the study.”

“Sites with full IT support and integration have used POCUS images [that] are reviewed by cardiology staff to determine if a full echocardiogram is clinically indicated, or if provider acquired images are sufficient to answer the clinical questions at hand. However, many sites do not have IT integration of their POCUS machines, or an easy way to share point-of-care images with cardiology staff. Today’s ultraportable ultrasound units make image acquisition and collaboration for interpretation/decision making easy and painless.”

Dversdal says that “medical school adoption of ultraportable ultrasound is at a tipping point. More schools are incorporating, more students are demanding, however deeper integration, with clinical workflow, gamification and in context education is needed.”