Vscan – a checkup in your pocket
With the launching of the Vscan, the first pocket-sized ultrasound machine, the local healthcare system should prepare itself to be revolutionized. Gone are the days when you will need to wait for hours to see a doctor in a critical situation, only to be told you have to wait another two hours in order to use the next available ultrasound system.
This new product, which officially is on the local market today, was made by General Electric Healthcare and has been available in other markets for the last two years. In garnering so much success over this time, this machine is anticipated to get the same, if not better, reception on the local market.
T’Shera Gaitor, field service engineer with Bahamas Medical and Surgical Supplies, the official suppliers of the machine, says it is ideal for local medical practitioners, especially since local healthcare providers are always looking for ways to diversify and operate at the same level as more advanced international healthcare providers.
“The Vscan is a great new addition to the local healthcare market because is it allows a more precise and personal healthcare experience in minutes,” she says. “It’s a pocket sized ultrasound system, and what makes it so different is that it allows the physician to take a quick look at a patient’s anatomy without the need for a full-sized ultrasound machine. It is ideal for first diagnosis in critical situations, such as when you are in the emergency room (ER) and time is vital. You don’t need to be lying around waiting for (an ultrasound) machine to become available. It eliminates critical minutes one would spend waiting for a shared ultrasound system.”
While this machine is expected to really rock the waters locally, it not intended to replace a traditional ultrasound system, but instead it is hoped it will positively change the way a physical exam is done. It is hoped that the old practices of most physicians – to simply do a checkup with a stethoscope and use percussion to listen for fluids or other oddities within the body cavities – will be advanced. You will no longer have to depend on one sense, hearing, to determine what is going on and what the best thing for the patient is.
“It is better to use more than one of your senses to make an informed medical decision, especially when someone’s life is in your hands. So it is a plus that in addition to the stethoscope, doctors have a chance to see within their patients when they are presented with a problem. There will be little chance for assuming and no need to use major machinery – which is usually more expensive to operate – in order to find out whether your problem is a big issue or something small. If a good diagnosis can be given at the beginning and it can eliminate a patient’s need to spend excess money, it improves a physician’s work flow and eases the strain on the larger equipment. Then the machine is really doing its job and everyone wins.”
All doctors may find some use for this new gadget, but the target market for this machinery is mainly cardiologists, gynecologists, emergency room and intensive care physicians and primary care physicians.
Laura McGillis, a gastroenteritis sufferer, says the machine will do wonders for her routine medical examination. She anticipates no longer having to book weeks in advance to see her doctor, and to access an ultrasound machine to see what is going on inside her.
“I really am looking forward to this machine, especially if my doctor or one of my recommended physicians gets on board with using this machine. It sounds very promising and I hope it gets into the clinics and hospitals very soon. I hate the wait it takes for me to see my doctor and use the machine. It takes weeks with an appointment and in case of an emergency, which I have at least twice a month, it can take hours. I lay in the hospital in pain and my doctor always is careful, God bless him, to not do anything until he is sure, but the time it takes to get the machine in between always seems like a lifetime.
On the other hand, for Vera-lee Andrews – a first time expectant mother – the new Vscan, while comforting to know it is there in a pinch, is not something she feels too keen on using as a patient.
“I want to see my baby in big pictures and have the whole experience of being pregnant and doing an ultrasound right. I think the Vscan will take away from the experience, seeing as it is so small,” says the 35-year-old. “I mean although I think the machine is a good thing for persons in an emergency, or if something suddenly goes wrong in my pregnancy, it is still a bit too advanced and takes away the joy of the pregnancy experience in a way. It’s not a bad thing at all to be honest, but I think some things should stay the same for tradition’s sake as long as it can.”
Persons interested in finding out more about this new technology can attend the launch tonight from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel.