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GPs back ultrasound tech which could ‘revolutionise’ health care

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A revolutionary handheld ultrasound device which is improving patient outcomes has been hailed as ‘the new stethoscope’ by doctors.

Since the Butterfly Network introduced the world’s first handheld, whole-body ultrasound system two years ago the device has been used by tens of thousands of medical professionals across the globe.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, the tool has been adopted by NHS trusts, due to its lung imaging capabilities, portability and its ability to help clinicians make fast decisions at the bedside.

Now private GP, Dr Oliver Denton, an early adopter of the Butterfly, has described point-of-care ultrasound as the ‘new stethoscope’ and says it is a revolutionary tool for primary care doctors to have in their medical kit.

“It is the next revolution in terms of a GP, to be able to look into the body and make a diagnosis, based on what they’re seeing and have confidence about it,” he said.

“It could revolutionise health care if every primary care network had at least one doctor with some experience using point-of-care ultrasound.

“I think every medical student should be taught how to use it, as it is the next step in primary care –  it’s the new stethoscope.”

According to Dr Denton the Butterfly, which allows clinicians to bring up the ultrasound imagery on their phone and then share the files and share them anonymously with other health professionals, has allowed him to make quicker and more accurate diagnoses.

“Within my first week of using the Butterfly I had made a really major diagnosis, I could see there was a really big abnormality and could make an urgent referral to hospital,” he said.

“I can’t say it has allowed me to make a life-saving diagnosis, but if you’re making a referral and you say this is an urgent priority, having point of care ultrasound really reinforces and adds value to that.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic it has also prevented him from making unnecessary hospital admissions, reducing the pressure on the NHS and avoiding putting patients at risk of catching the virus.

“Before we were sending far more people to hospital because there was more uncertainty, now with the use of point-of-care ultrasounds you have suddenly refined things,” Dr Denton added.

“If someone comes in with a swollen leg, I scan it and see whether they have deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

“If I can see that I don’t need to send them to hospital, that’s reduced the burden on the hospital but also the risk of that person contracting COVID.”

The Butterfly Network recently developed the Butterfly iQ+, which offers new capabilities, such as faster frame rates, Needle Viz TM technology, a longer battery life and industry-leading durability.

It also features an optimised manufacturing process in partnership with TSMC, the largest and most advanced dedicated IC foundry in the world, to realise Butterfly’s vision of creating an ultrasound device as ubiquitous as the stethoscope for the world’s 40 million healthcare providers.

Dr John Martin, Butterfly Network’s Chief Medical Officer commented: ‘“These new capabilities bring us one step closer to realising the full potential of bedside point-of-care ultrasound as the stethoscope of the future—a true window into the body.”

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