What Is a POCUS Device?

Ultrasound technology has seen significant advances since its beginnings. The first clinical ultrasound was performed in 1956 in Glasgow. It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, when hospitals in the United States and many other countries fully adopted the technology. Since then, we’ve seen myriad advances, including the improvement of imaging quality and the development of volumetric ultrasound, just to name a few.

At Exo, we believe that one of the most exciting advancements in ultrasound technology has been the development of the portable ultrasound machine. Originally coined as bedside ultrasounds, today’s point-of-care ultrasound, or POCUS, devices are truly portable, which means they can be used by medical professionals in a variety of settings. Exactly what does POCUS mean in ultrasound care, and how can it be used to achieve better patient outcomes? Let’s dive in.

What Is Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS)?

At the most basic level, the POCUS meaning in the medical world refers to ultrasound technology used at the point of care. Rather than sending a patient to another facility or waiting on an appointment with the radiology department, POCUS allows trained doctors and medical professionals to perform ultrasounds at the point of care. Historically, portable ultrasound devices could only be used at the bedside, but advancements in POCUS technology mean they can be used in other settings, including an ambulance, helicopter, or trauma bay. In fact, POCUS devices can link directly to cellular devices and tablets, which only increases their portability.

This critical advancement provides medical professionals with a powerful tool to quickly diagnose—or rule out diagnoses—in situations where every second counts. In fact, one 2017 analysis from the American College of Cardiology showed that point-of-care ultrasound has been shown to do the following:

  • Minimize the delay between the onset of symptoms and the initiation of treatment
  • Decrease morbidity and mortality in critically ill individuals
  • Accomplish better patient outcomes
  • Provide improved operational efficiency

What Is a POCUS Ultrasound Device?

A POCUS device is simply a piece of portable ultrasound equipment that can be used in a variety of locations. Because of their portable nature, POCUS devices are suitable for use in emergency medicine (including ambulances), primary care, obstetrics & gynecology, cardiology, and a number of other specialty areas.

Because of how innovative these devices truly are, there are a number of different types of POCUS equipment being produced by a variety of medical manufacturers. Each of these devices will offer its own set of functionality and features. However, here are some common features to look for in a POCUS device:

  • Portability: Some POCUS devices are handheld, while others require the use of a cart system. The intended use for the device may inform how portable the device needs to be. For example, using POCUS in emergency medicine situations may require something as portable as possible.
  • Image Quality: Just because these devices are smaller in size does not mean you have to settle for poor image quality. Many POCUS devices offer imaging that will provide the results medical professionals need to make decisions quickly and accurately.
  • Wireless: Many POCUS devices have embraced wireless technology. This means that medical professionals can connect their smartphones to the device—sometimes with no cables needed—to provide scans virtually anywhere.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence has become a hot topic in the ultrasound field. Some devices offer AI-enabled guidance to assist in probe placement or organ detection, helping to increase the accuracy of POCUS scans.
  • Presets: To help ensure ease of scanning, many POCUS devices have built-in presets to assist in scanning specific locations, such as the abdomen, lung, and more. POCUS uses are vast, and presets help to ensure reliable, high-quality imaging.

EXO Works™ and POCUS Ultrasound Machines

In an emergency, when time is of the essence, physicians don’t want to focus on data entry and documentation until after they’ve seen the patient. And even after seeing a patient, they want to spend as little time as possible, so they can focus on the next patient in need. Medical professionals need a workflow that allows them to quickly and effectively record patient data, capture and save images, and apply the appropriate billing information.

That’s where Exo Works comes in.

Exo Works, a POCUS workflow solution, allows medical professionals to document exams in a matter of seconds and manage quality assurance from anywhere, giving them more time to focus on their patients. The four-step process is a breeze.

  1. Perform the scan with any DICOM-enabled ultrasound machine, which allows you to use the POCUS device of your choosing.

  2. Review and document your findings in seconds, right from your Windows or Mac device.

  3. Automatically save to EMR and PACS for accurate billing and secure storage. Exo Works is Epic App Orchard certified and Cerner CODE program approved. You can easily sync with your EMR.

  4. Securely distribute and access exam results remotely through the cloud. With unlimited storage and data redundancy, you can ensure all your records are safely and securely maintained. Read more about our tech specs to learn more.

Are you ready to learn more about how Exo Works can transform your POCUS workflow? Book a demo today.

Read more on POCUS: A Beginner’s Guide to POCUS, What Is POCUS Used For?, Is POCUS Cost Effective?, What Is POCUS? , How to Make the Case for a New POCUS Workflow.

Exo is a health information and devices company modernizing medical imaging starting with making ultrasound simple and affordable for all. Exo just released Exo Works™, an intelligent and intuitive point-of-care ultrasound workflow solution that lets medical practitioners document exams in seconds and easily manage QA from anywhere. Learn more about Exo Works.