Ultrasound in the Age of Telehealth, Telemonitoring, Telemedicine, Robots, and Kimonos

Today, there is online access to almost everything; groceries, a video chat with your grandmother across the globe, step-by-step instructions on how to fix your lawnmower, and a virtual doctor to help with pain in your abdomen. The healthcare applications of the internet have exploded in recent years with digital health and telemedicine assuming one of the highest growth areas for start-up entrepreneurs. The expansion of telehealth resources (IT infrastructure/capabilities) has allowed telemedicine to extend to isolated, inaccessible, remote spaces (maybe even your living room). And telehealth has gone beyond just a video chat with incorporation of sensing technologies including cameras, digital stethoscopes, and ultrasound.
Kat and Scott

Ultrasound imaging in austere locations is not just about access to an ultrasound system; it requires both the ultrasound operator, and the interpreter, to have specific knowledge, competency, and ultimately accountability about the quality of the examination, and the diagnosis it helps to provide. Our NASA-sponsored research team has shown that novice ultrasound operators can acquire diagnostic quality ultrasound images after a short training period with remote tele-ultrasound guidance in a space medicine environment. The astronaut operators were able to perform terrestrial standard abdominal, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal ultrasound examinations with modest remote guidance oversight; zero gravity specific exams of the eyes, spine, and sinus were also completed. Importantly, the astronaut crewmembers quickly became more autonomous during their 6-month mission in space and were able to self-direct image acquisition.

But a major challenge with tele-ultrasound is operator training. William R. Buras, Sr, Director, Life Sciences at Tietronix Software Inc, and his team are making an augmented reality user interface for ultrasound scanning using a wearable heads-up display with imbedded guidance to improve ultrasound competency. This innovative Houston team is being funded by a NASA grant.

Unfortunately, when it gets to real-world practicality, neither the ultrasound machine nor the examination is intuitive. A team in Canada led by Dr Andy Kirkpatrick are working on a sustainable ultrasound solution using both remote ultrasound system operation and telemonitoring. They investigated the ability of non-trained firefighters to perform ultrasound in Edmonton being guided from Calgary. “We found that by using just-in-time–training with motivated firefighters, the remote examiner guiding the firefighters was 97% correct in determining the presence of a simulated hemo-peritoneum. Ironically, while this trial design also attempted to examine the utility of remote ultrasound knobology control, the firefighters were so good at the task that the remote knobology control became less of a relevant problem” said Dr Kirkpatrick.

To reduce the challenges of novice ultrasound operators, at team in France, led by Dr Phillipe Arbelle, linked a robot-coupled ultrasound device with a remote operator. The distant clinician can move the ultrasound probe with a joystick to acquire the ultrasound images. His concept has been implemented in a French ultrasound device, SonoScanner, that the European Space Agency will begin investigating on the International Space Station.

Similar work in robotic ultrasound is being done in Australia, where a team is building a robotic ultrasound machine that can perform abdominal ultrasound.

Have you seen the guy in a kimono buying a car? Online resourcing is indeed pants-optional. But if you plan on telemonitoring be suitably dressed.

Alien

What other areas have come a long way when it comes to ultrasound? What areas are poised to be next? Comment below or let us know on Twitter: @AIUM_Ultrasound.

Kathleen M Rosendahl-Garcia, BS, RDMS, RVT, RDCS, is a NASA contractor working for KBRWyle and is a senior scientist and clinical sonographer in the Space Medicine division working under the Human Health and Performance Contract. Scott Dulchavsky, MD, PhD, is the Roy D. McClure Chairman of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and Professor of Surgery, Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is also a principal investigator for NASA and heads a project teaching astronauts how to use medical ultrasound in space.

Life Hacks for the 2017 AIUM Annual Convention

Are you ready? The 2017 AIUM Annual Convention is in less than 2 weeks and we have been working hard to make this a great multidisciplinary convention just for you. If you haven’t registered, do so here. If you are already heading to Orlando, here are a few things you can do to get the most out of your experience:

  1. Plan

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View the Program online and create a personalized schedule.

 

  1. Go

Transportation

There are several options to get to and from the Orlando Airport and the Swan and Dolphin Resort. The AIUM has negotiated a special discount with Mears, or you can choose from other options here.

 

  1. Surf

WiFi

Surf the web via complimentary Internet access throughout the convention space. In addition, if you are staying at the Swan and Dolphin Resort, your resort fee includes in-room Internet access.

 

  1. Follow

 Logos

Stay in the know by following the AIUM and the Convention on Twitter (#AIUM17), Instagram (aium_ultrasound), vimeo, LinkedIn, and Facebook as we share news and events, as well as photos and videos.

 

  1. Listen

speakers

Join the world-class faculty and ultrasound luminaries in any of the many sessions, presentations, and events that are occurring at any given time during the convention. Check out your many options on the AIUM convention web site.

 

  1. Learn

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Attend any of the 150+ sessions from 19 different interest tracks, with courses specifically designed for novice through advanced:

  • View and discuss unique cases with the physicians who made the diagnoses in any of the Just Images Sessions.
  • Attend courses developed by community and interest group officers in Special Interest Sessions.
  • Watch as a group of expert panelists evaluate new and challenging cases in Film Panel Sessions.
  • Learn about the latest research in Research Abstract Presentation Sessions.
  • View E-posters.
  • Meet with other ultrasound professionals who share your interests, plan future AIUM educational programs, and discuss the issues in your specialty in Community and Interest Group Meetings.

 

  1. Diagnose

 Case

The ever popular Case-of-the-day Challenge has become Image Challenges and will be located on the Exhibit Hall floor (Atlantic Hall B/C), on Sunday, March 26, through Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

 

  1. Earn

CME    blue arrow   Earn up to 7.5 CME credits during the Preconvention and 27.25 CME credits during the Convention.

ARRT   blue arrow   Earn up to 7.5 ARRT credits during the Preconvention and 27.25 ARRT credits during the Convention.

SAMs   blue arrow  The American Board of Radiology (ABR) has approved 6 Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs) activities from our upcoming 2017 Convention.

UGRA   blue arrow  One session at the Preconvention and 8 sessions at the Convention have been added to the UGRA Portfolio program’s course offerings.

 

  1. Eat

 Disney Eateries

Check out all of the conveniently located places you can get dinner or a quick bite. Just within the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort if you want some Italian for dinner, try Il Mulino, located in the Swan, or if you want something else, try Shula’s Steak House (in the Dolphin), Kimonos (Japanese cuisine; in the Swan), or Todd English’s Bluezoo (seafood; in the Dolphin), but be sure to make your reservations now to avoid a long wait as they can all be very popular. There are also 7 more options for more casual or quicker bites so you never have to go very far to find something, and you will be able to purchase lunch on the Exhibit Hall floor.

 

  1. Play 

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Registered attendees can buy discounted tickets to Walt Disney World Theme Parks. But hurry: the discount ends Friday, March 24, 2017, at 9 pm.

We can’t wait to see you in Orlando! Don’t forget to tag and share #AIUM17 on social media.