COVID-19 hit in 2020 and suddenly, hospital visits were only recommended for serious cases. Mobile healthcare came into its own and clinicians had to evolve their services. Portable medical devices have come in handy especially at this time. Excerpt
The use of digital tools in health care provision is undergoing a substantial and rapid revolution. This is because of their ease of use and efficiency. One such tool is the Butterfly IQ.
As healthcare professionals, you have either heard of or come across the Butterfly IQ. It is a handheld, pocket-sized ultrasound device that is especially useful in low-resource settings to create sustainable healthcare.
When COVID-19 hit, hospital visits were only recommended for serious cases. Mobile healthcare came into its own and clinicians had to evolve their services.
Portable medical devices have come in handy especially at this time. Many clinicians found themselves tending to patients outside of patient care facilities.
If a doctor needed to visit a pregnant patient, a handheld ultrasound was one of the devices that would make the doctor’s examination similar to one done at a hospital.
Diagnostic applications of the Butterfly IQ include:
- External imaging (e.g. abdominal, pelvic, lung, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal [MSK], and small parts imaging)
- intraluminal/intracavitary imaging
- Obstetrics ultrasound (Obs 1, Obs 2, and Obs 3)
- Trans-fontanelle imaging in infants
Other than for use in diagnostics, it is also used to guide doctors during procedures such as in biopsies.
Why The Butterfly IQ is a Preferred ultrasound Device During COVID-19
- Its Use in Lung ultrasounds
Lung ultrasounds may be preferred over chest radiography or computed tomography in the diagnosis and monitoring of COVID-19 patients. This is because of its ease of bedside use, low cost, and reduced risk of infectious spread. Advanced capabilities of the butterfly IQ such as information sharing, video learning, and teleguidance may further improve patient care.
FACT: During the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, in which patients’ conditions rapidly deteriorated leading to aggressive pneumonia, lung ultrasound outperformed chest radiography for the detection of viral pneumonia in symptomatic patients.
- Lack of Radiation Exposure
Unlike X-ray imaging that uses high-frequency sound waves, there is no ionizing radiation exposure associated with ultrasound imaging which uses a probe directly on the skin or opening.
- Ease of equipment sterilization
Traditional ultrasounds must be thoroughly sterilized after each use to prevent the spread of infection. When it comes to the butterfly IQ, a single handheld probe can be easily sterilized. The use of disposable probe covers can further reduce the risk of spreading infections from portable devices.
- It is Portable
The transport of a traditional ultrasound device is not feasible. A handheld ultrasound device, on the other hand, fits in a bag and makes it easy for clinicians to perform bedside diagnoses.
- Multiple Uses
The Butterfly IQ is a game-changer for the medical field. It can be used in place of a stethoscope. An added advantage is its use to check for cardiovascular dysfunctions which have proven very beneficial to check for patients’ cardiovascular health during COVID-19.
- Promotes Information Sharing
Sharing findings on social media could create a large crowdsourced index from which clinicians and scientists could continue to identify and share common findings in COVID-19 patients. This was a novel idea by Dr. Yale Tung Chen, an emergency physician from the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Spain.
Upon being diagnosed with COVID-19, he decided to ultrasound his own lungs and share his findings on Twitter as his disease progressed. Using a portable ultrasound device and recording his findings on a social media platform allowed him to demonstrate, in almost real-time, the utilization of lung ultrasonography as it applies to COVID-19.
Healthcare will continue to evolve and clinicians, as well as patient care facilities, are destined to evolve as well by embracing new devices and new technologies. Heavy, expensive, and radiation-prone devices are heading out the door if handheld ultrasound devices like the butterfly IQ continue proving their worth with their continued functionality updates.