Small Is Big: New Vscan Technology May Replace The Stethoscope
GE’s drive to miniaturize technologies in order to make them more mobile couldn’t be better illustrated than with the breakthrough Vscan technology that GE’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt unveiled during his talk at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. Roughly the size of a cell phone, it houses powerful ultrasound technology that can potentially redefine the way doctors examine patients. By giving doctors a view into the body from the palm of a hand, GE believes that Vscan could one day become as indispensable as the traditional physician’s stethoscope in patient exams. Pocket-sized technology like Vscan has the potential to help redefine the physical exam and improve patient care by enhancing a doctor’s ability to quickly and accurately make a diagnosis. For critical care clinicians, Vscan can offer an immediate look beyond patient vital signs with the potential to identify critical issues, like fluid around the heart, which could be a sign of congestive heart failure. And for cardiologists, Vscan provides a dependable visual evaluation of how well the heart is pumping at a glance, so they can treat patients more efficiently. The Vscan debut followed Jeff’s announcement about the potentially game-changing computerized system that will give real-time clinical data and treatment options to doctors. GE’s next step in developing Vscan is to work with 12 leading clinical sites throughout the world to help determine how the technology will impact patient workflow and focused exams in primary care, critical care and the cardiology practices. The $8,000 device is just one entry in the booming field of mobile-health technology. In an era where many medical schools hand out iPods along with dissection kits, smartphone apps, wireless sensors and other innovative tools hold “transformative potential.