GE Healthcare’s Vscan* is a pocket-sized ultrasound device that allows healthcare providers to monitor the fetus’s position and visualize heartbeat, and help improve the quality of referrals to hospitals for additional medical care.
Handheld ultrasound technology is expected to have its greatest impact at the point of care, where clinicians will be able to gather information to help efficiently triage patients.
In a country in which infant mortality is around five times higher than in Europe, and only 10% of women in the the poorest quintile giving birth have a health professional present,* maternal healthcare in Indonesia could be considered the preserve of the wealthy.
However, a handheld ultrasound device, which enables healthcare providers to examine pregnant women in their communities, is being used to help improve maternal healthcare. GE Healthcare’s Vscan** is a pocket-sized ultrasound device that allows healthcare providers to monitor the fetus’s position and visualize heartbeat, help improve the care provided to high risk patients and help improve the quality of referrals to hospitals for additional medical care.
The Vscan is a pocket-sized visualization tool that delivers imaging capabilities at the point-of-care. The device provides a non-invasive look inside the body to help clinicians immediately visually validate what they feel and hear during a physical exam. Vscan is currently used in the fields of cardiology, primary care, women’s health and emergency medicine, and is also used as a training tool in medical schools.
With around 6,000 inhabited islands and an overstretched healthcare system, a trip to the hospital in Indonesia can be a huge ordeal. This means many women miss out on crucial medical checkups, which may identify medical complications early on.
Healthcare in Indonesia is a mixture of both traditional and modern health practices. While primary health care in Indonesia is generally regarded as being relatively adequate (one public health center for every 30,000 people on average), people in remote interior or small island locations have particularly poor access because most clinicians work in urban areas, with a limited number working in remote areas.***
This means access to ultrasound machines for expectant mothers in rural Indonesia is a luxury rather than the norm. Handheld ultrasound technology is therefore being introduced in a bid to help increase the number of women and newborns surviving labor. It is expected to have its greatest impact at the point of care, where clinicians will be able to gather information to help efficiently triage patients, reduce wait times, and develop personalized care plans.
“Yes, this handheld ultrasound scanning programme is definitely helping people who live in rural areas.” said Dr Achmad Feryanto, at the Sentra Medika Hospital.
Universal healthcare in Indonesia, which is set to be rolled out next year is expected to swell the already overburdened clinics and hospitals. The first insurance roll-out commences in January, with the objective to cover all Indonesians by 2019.
The plan aims to assimilate public healthcare programs into one offering of a free or subsidized healthcare plan to cover 86.4 million poor and "near poor" Indonesians in 2014, 10 million more than who are covered now.
*Trademark of General Electric Company
** – Webster P.C, Indonesia makes maternal health a national priority, The Lancet, Volume 380, Issue 9858, Pages 1981 – 1982, 8 December 2012. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)62141-2/fulltext. Last Accessed 26/07/13