Imaging Quality and Ultrasound Questions Guiding Ultrasound Decisions
There will always be many questions on ultrasound equipment. When reviewing ultrasound machines, a common question is which is the best ultrasound machine? Well, think about it, it’s all relative. In life the best man, the best house, the best location, the best job could all mean something different depending on the criteria it’s based upon or even just the person judging. Let’s think about this and figure out which is the best ultrasound machine for you to buy.
Ultrasound machines may be rated by image quality which is important to many (or most), durability which may have more importance in certain environmental conditions, and still, some refer to the “best bang for the buck” which may meet a lot of the criteria, and maybe not.
Let’s take a peek at the differences in ultrasound. The most basic black and white (B&W) ultrasounds are Sonoscape A6 portable, Edan DUS60, the New Sonoscape E1, some Chison portables and quite possibly the Aloka SSD-500. These systems are best used in obstetrician offices (ob/gyn), musculoskeletal practices (msk), podiatry offices, those wanting a bladder scanner, for the basic veterinary practices. They are close to equivalent in price, but the A6 falls short on what I call functioning Dicom which may not matter to everyone. What is Dicom? Dicom, in layman’s terms is a way to communicate and transfer images taken from a certain modality along with the pertinent patient information. To minimize it more, I would say it’s a way to transfer the patient data to a server or a central location which is now widely used in clinics and hospitals to log with the master patient record. So, as technology progresses and healthcare moves forward, you can see how Dicom may influence your decision to have/not have it, on your ultrasound device.
What else is important? Imaging quality is influenced by features or enhancements on the machine like spatial compounding, compound imaging or speckle reduction. These technologies improve the image, decrease or eliminate the artifacts on the image and refine the edges. We each may view an image different. This paired with budget narrows the gap on which is best for you. We also respectfully realize imaging is sometimes viewed and evaluated from the eye of the beholder meaning the person viewing images may see a different level of clarity than another professional.
Machines with 4D will have color doppler. Color doppler introduces most ultrasound machines prices starting around $10,000 for a base 2D refurbished model. If you add 4D, the cost goes higher because now you have 4D and color doppler, two areas that increase price adding hardware and software to a basic ultrasound unit. The same holds true for a cardiac echo portable ultrasound or trolley ultrasound, the cardiac aspect can add a CW board, stress package, software, licensing, hardware. So, for those clinicians or dealers that call and ask for a machine with 3 standard probes – think about it, because we do.
The Voluson e10 4D ultrasound machine will not be the same as the Voluson 730, Mindray R7, Philips iU22 and many others, it will exceed all the expectations because it is the highest level of technology out in 2017 for 4D. The hardware, software, imaging enhancements and modern technology equate to this high-end Realtime 4D, HDLive, ultrasound machine; it’s simply the best but it comes at a price. HDLive has some incredibly enhanced features that help quickly diagnose fetal abnormalities so unless you are really looking for a critical prenatal diagnosis, this machine or just HDLive, may be far more than what you need. On the portable ultrasound side, the M7, Chison Sonobook 9 and Voluson i/e are the ones that remain strong on the market for 4D with the Chison scanner having some very modern features that are compelling and have landed in the competitive 3D/4D space once you discover the name.
What else did we mention may be important? Price, right. Yes, as much as this seems like sensitive information, it ultimately does a few things:
*Helps determine what equipment is compatible with the budgetary requirements
*Will initiate a conversation about leasing if the budget is not close
*May dismiss the opportunity completely given the parameters or expectations
*May open a discussion for alternate ultrasound equipment closer to the budget
*May save your time and our time before many questions and quotes steal hours or days.