Advantages of Cart-Based Point-of-Care Ultrasound Scanners

September 5, 2018 | Evaluations & Guidance

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The use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) continues to expand throughout healthcare, and users in a wide variety of settings and disciplines now rely on the technology to enhance delivery of time- and cost-efficient care. Currently, the majority of scanners used at the point of care (POC) are portable models (e.g., laptop-style), which have POCUS-specific features. Although conventional general-purpose scanners can be utilized for POCUS applications, their use is much less common.

Cart-based POCUS scanners represent a newer development in the ultrasound market. These scanners are designed to combine the best aspects of portable and conventional systems, with the POCUS user in mind.

This article compares cart-based POCUS scanners to portable and conventional scanners for use in POCUS applications. As our comparisons show, cart-based POCUS scanners offer several performance and workflow advantages, which can enhance delivery of POCUS services and patient care, particularly in critical care settings.

ECRI Institute has evaluated cart-based POCUS scanners. For our ratings of specific models, plus a more in-depth look at technology in general, see our Evaluation Background.

Portable scanners. ECRI Institute defines the portable category as scanners not permanently mounted on wheeled carts (although they can be placed on carts). These include handheld, tablet-style, and laptop-style scanners. Portable scanners can be battery operated, are relatively easy to learn and use, and have capabilities and features designed for POCUS imaging assessments and use at the POC. Portable tablet-style and laptop-style scanners are used on a wheeled cart, which enhances their transportability within a facility and creates a self-contained system with probe holders and storage for accessories such as gel or probe covers. It is for these reasons that many...

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