GE unveiled Vscan, the pocket-sized, battery-powered ultrasound device in 2009. Since then it’s been used by physicians to improve maternal and child care in rural Indonesia, by trained clinicians and cardiologists in remote jungle villages in east Malaysia, and by emergency medicine doctors to examine athletes at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Popular Science magazine gave the device a “Grand Award” for innovation in health in 2010.
Vscan hit another landmark this week when the Ministry of Health of the Italian region of Lombardia (Lombardy) became the first governmental entity in Europe to order the device. It purchased 135 Vscans for use by general practitioners. As in many other areas, government orders can drive broader adoption of medical technology and devices.
“Vscan has shown potential to help physicians obtain more information, and promptly send the right patient to the right test,” said Dr. Carlo Lucchina, General Director of Lombardia Ministry of Health. “We are hoping to improve the efficiency of our healthcare system in Lombardia but also validate this new approach and promote to all the other Italian regions and outside in Europe.”
Vscan is a visualization tool that provides black and white anatomic and color-coded blood flow images in real time. It is optimized for clinicians who want to quickly look at the heart, abdominal organs and the bladder. Vscan has the potential to help redefine the routine physical exam by improving a doctor’s ability to make a quick diagnosis.
In critical care situations, Vscan enables an immediate look beyond a patient’s vital signs to help critical care clinicians to identify issues like fluid around the heart. Dr. Liew Houng Bang, director of cardiology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabulu, a provincial capital of east Malaysia, says that Vscan “will transform the way we practice.”
This sentiment is one shared by other Vscan users, including Professor Petros Nihoyannopoulos, Professor of Cardiology at the Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital in the UK.