With its motto of "saving lives, one ultrasound at a time," the organization has provided handheld ultrasound devices to healthcare workers in villages that have access to cellphone reception. A two-day training program instructs local healthcare providers on how to acquire high-quality ultrasound scans.
Special scanning protocols enable individuals with no diagnostic imaging experience to scan a body region by acquiring images every few millimeters using only external anatomical landmarks. The images are converted to video, compressed, and sent via a cellphone modem to a central location with a PACS for interpretation.
Co-founders Dr. Kristen Destigter, an associate professor and the vice chair of radiology at the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care, and Dr. Brian Garra, chief of imaging systems and research at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center, will discuss how they are testing the use of a PACS-integrated structured reporting system in Ugandan villages.
Ideally, the structured reporting system will return results rapidly to the point of care and also to the hospital where patients may be referred. Findings are being sent to the cellphone of the healthcare worker who performed the study. The report and key images are emailed to the local referral hospital.
Patient contact information is recorded, and the system is designed to track discrepancies between the report and clinical follow-up, with the goal of identifying patients who need clinical treatment at a hospital. Outcomes data based on clinical, imaging, surgical, and pathological assessment also may be added to the patient record.