For a pregnant woman, getting an ultrasound is a major accomplishment. It is an opportunity to get one’s health checked, see a disorienting picture, but most importantly, get to meet the child they will be raising for the rest of their lives. It is a major hassle as well. Even making an appointment might be difficult in today’s world of packed hospitals, highly contagious infections, and overall unpredictability. But what if one didn’t need to?
A recent report from MIT makes bold claims about the future of ultrasound imaging, not only for expecting moms but for all diagnostics. In order to provide continuous ultrasound imaging of the body, the researchers have created a set of 48-hour stickers that may be put to the body. The team is developing an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that will allow these stickers to communicate directly with a user’s phone in place of the existing requirement that they be connected to a large ultrasonic imaging machine in order to take photographs.
This technology has the potential to revolutionise a number of medical device industries, depending on how it develops. Not only does this offer a smaller, more portable ultrasound imaging technique, but if these stickers could be packaged and delivered to far locations, a doctor could review a patient’s ultrasound from a great distance away. In the field of remote patient monitoring, this would greatly increase the accessibility of diagnostics for organ health, disease, or pregnancy (RPM).
Investors will be eagerly awaiting the release of clinical trial results and efficacy data in the future. Whether these stickers can revolutionise healthcare will be determined by the outcomes of these experiments. RPM and diagnostic imaging are now the two dynamic healthcare domains where this technology resides. Among the largest markets in healthcare are those for RPM and diagnostic imaging, with GlobalData projecting 2022 market values of $11.0 million and $30.3 million, respectively, with predicted growth of 3.4 percent and 4.8 percent. With the introduction of Covid-19, the value of RPM has been evident, and GlobalData anticipates that with continued government reimbursement support, its growth would soar in the years to come.
Both of these technologies could be significantly cannibalised if the ultrasound technology turns out to be sufficiently affordable and portable, but it also has the potential to carve out a huge new niche for itself. Living in remote places is now one of the largest untapped patient populations. These patients frequently reside a great distance from the closest hospital. The nearest specialty hospital can be hundreds of miles distant, yet their medical needs are no less varied. This obstacle might be overcome by this technique. Healthcare practitioners might perform diagnostic imaging procedures like prenatal ultrasounds, organ health checks, and the search for malignant tumours by mailing these diagnostic stickers to patients in remote places. This opens up a huge range of possibilities in the diagnostic space and thus, a large potential market.