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POCUS: An indispensable tool for point of care physicians

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POCUS is a valuable bedside tool that is increasingly utilised due to its reliability, accuracy, speed and ease of operation

In today’s medical technology-driven era, diagnostic ultrasound imaging has become imperative in intensive care units, emergency wards and operating rooms for the timely evaluation and delivery of right patient care.

With the continuous advancement of image quality and technology, compact ultrasound machine has become the most widely accepted point-of-care (POC) tool for physicians as it is easy to use, real-time, non-invasive and easily accessible.

The introduction of a high-quality, reasonably-priced portable ultrasound unit has now made it possible for clinicians to rapidly obtain diagnostic information that can be extremely helpful for better outcomes in adults as well as in children.

Because of the critical condition of the patient, transport to other areas of the hospital for USG, CT or MR imaging is often difficult. For patients or infants who require mechanical ventilation and other specialised intensive care support, the problem of patient mobility becomes even more complex and hazardous. Since compact ultrasound
equipment can be brought to the bedside and does not expose convalescent to additional radiation, it is the preferred initial study for imaging in crucial situations. Until recently, ultrasound units were large, complicated, expensive, and required extensive expertise in the acquisition of images. Moreover, the machines themselves were prohibitively expensive. As a result, the ultrasound units were typically maintained in the radiology department (which provided the technical support) and were a limited resource shared among many hospital departments with differing needs. In many instances (particularly at night and on weekends), ultrasound imaging has not always been immediately available to intensive care units and emergency wards. Common patient management decisions that might benefit from immediate ultrasound evaluations have often been deferred until the next day, contributing to physician frustration, patient’s family anxiety and hospital cost. Furthermore, and most importantly, the care of the patient may be adversely affected. In India, for the past decade, mid-range portable ultrasound machines are extensively used to diagnose life-threatening conditions and have become an invaluable tool in fast-paced settings where seconds can be the difference between good and bad outcomes.

While it has improved patient safety and outcomes in adult critical care, ultrasound is gaining greater acceptance as the imaging modality of choice in the paediatric emergency setting as well.

Nowadays, medical practitioners are well accepting the small and mobile devices that enable them to take instant diagnostic decisions and streamline all other steps in a patient care process by using bedside ultrasonography. They prefer sanitisable ultrasound equipment in the operation theatre and ICU settings for infection control (patient safety) during surgeries and invasive procedures. It not only avoids the risk of infection and exposure to radiation but also creates a balanced approach between patient’s satisfaction and the clinician’s professional intellect. Dynamic imaging, precision-based clinical visualisation and real-time analysis are some of the other benefits that point-of-care (POC) ultrasound offers as a bundle.

Anaesthesiologists nowadays widely use ultrasound for performing ultrasound-guided regional nerve blocks and line placement. Advanced applications include pain procedures and various musculo-skeletal examinations. Recent studies have proven that ultrasound-guided nerve blocks or procedures can help in reducing the opioid dosage and thus prevent opioid addiction.

Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) is a valuable bedside tool that is increasingly utilised in perioperative settings due to its reliability, accuracy, speed and ease of operation. In the emergency department, various clinical applications like FAST exam, focussed echo, lung sonography, fluid drainage and several other procedures can be performed with the help of these devices.

Amid the grim situation caused by the unprecedented outbreak of the highly infectious COVID-19 pandemic, POCUS can be considered as the key screening tool by the clinicians who are involved in saving lives during this crucial time. Being easily mobile and capable of diagnosing varied clinical conditions, POCUS allows quick, precise and scalable diagnosis for tracking medically fragile patients. Point-of-care ultrasound in the management of patients with COVID-19 has been reported to minimise the use of medical devices and healthcare worker-patient interactions to only the necessary procedures.

The Sonosite difference: We are working with leading healthcare providers globally and FFSS-India is focussed on serving the clients with the best academic solution in Point of Care ultrasound technology. Our ultrasound products and educational offerings are targeted at organisations seeking healthcare of international standards and excellence in patient care. Fujifilm Sonosite colour doppler systems fulfil all the parameters a physician needs to take care of when it comes to achieving better patient outcomes.

These systems have:
◆ Exceptional image quality with minimal keystrokes
◆Fluid-resistant for easy cleaning and disinfection
◆Light-weight for true mobility
◆ Under 20 seconds boot-uptime
◆ Custom use models for specialised care
◆ Drop-tested system and transducers
◆ Industry-leading five-year warranty
◆Extensive training and education solutions

Our key development areas are continual focus on miniaturisation of technology, reliability, ease of use, increasing mobility and providing more clinical material on the use of these medical devices. Our latest innovative ultrasound devices have the capability to quickly image all internal organs from head to toe, such as heart, kidney and liver, without worrying about troublesome cables or moving bulky machines around in a patient’s room. This key feature can improve not just the point of care at hospitals, but also the public’s access to medical imaging, espe-
cially in fast-developing tier-II and tier-III regions in India where it is much needed for trauma care, district hospitals, ambulatory services, military setup, and in disaster management scenario. The rate at which the ‘ultra-mobile’ concept is adopted will rely less on the advancement of technology and more on the resistance of physicians to use them.

Though the benefits may be apparent, the use of the device as an exam tool will still require a significant change in behaviour by the physician. We, as a company, are planning to push these devices for the long haul and looking for a slow-and-steady market growth rate in India. Strategic vision, big pockets and continuous R&D are ensured for the sustainability of this initiative in the long run.

To our customers, Sonosite is personal, trustworthy, reliable and accessible. We just don’t sell boxes, we believe in providing a complete solution: the ABILITY to see inside the body. We are focussed on supporting the customers through installation, service, training and education. We believe healthcare professionals choose Sonosite because we provide the highest degree of confidence.

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