CASE STUDY: Health System Seeks Better Way to Use Portable Ultrasound Device

CASE STUDY: Health System Seeks Better Way to Use Portable Ultrasound Device

The Philips Lumify is a portable ultrasound device with multiple transducers that enables users to simply download a mobile application onto a smart device, plug in the transducer, and go. This technology’s extreme mobility and ease of use provides healthcare professionals more ways to treat patients on the scene, particularly during emergencies or while circulating among various patient areas. However, its actual use presented some new issues for Arizona-based Banner Health, one of the largest U.S. nonprofit healthcare systems. It simply wasn’t practical for clinicians to carry the device, transducer and even gel as they moved throughout a hospital or suite of offices, especially given other items they must keep with them at any given time.

Leaders at Banner Health reached out to GCX to develop a solution that would allow them to take full advantage of this technology.

The GCX team traveled to a Banner Health facility to observe how the Philips Lumify was currently being used and gather key information.

We considered:

  • Workflow: How might the device be positioned so that it doesn’t get in the way of the interaction between clinician and patient?
  • Security: How might we ensure that the tablet won’t be stolen or accidentally removed from hospital property?
  • Cable management: How will the device be charged? How frequently?
  • Device accessibility: How might the clinician access the device more quickly and easily?
  • Ancillary devices and accessories (such as ultrasound gel): Are there other devices or accessories that need to be easily available during a procedure?
  • Mobility: How portable does this device really need to be?

Based on the discussion and subsequent brainstorming, we presented several options for positioning a Samsung tablet on a lightweight, mobile roll stand. We could:

  1. Incorporate molded adaptors on the rear of the tablet enclosure to mount the Philips Lumify transducer and ultrasound gel. We thought of this as giving the clinician a “third hand” to hold the transducer, gel, tablet and disposables required during an ultrasound.
  2. Rather than mount the transducer and ultrasound gel on the rear of the tablet, attach it to the roll stand near the handle to open up visibility and expedite access during urgent situations.
  3. Add a handle to the mountable tablet enclosure to make the whole system completely mobile-- the preference of a particular physician.
  4. Integrate a gravity “drop-on” feature to easily attach/remove the tablet from the roll stand. This could provide a better viewing angle for the physician or patient that wanted to see the ultrasound screen.

In the end, the Banner Health team favored Option 2—having the transducer and gel available near the handle of the roll stand. GCX was able to integrate the portable ultrasound system into the hospital setting in a way that substantially improved usability and gave Banner Health a more immediate return on its technology investment.

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