Doctors welcome breakthrough medical technology
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Jamaica could be among the first developing countries in the world to benefit from revolutionary new medical technology that changes the way diagnostic services are carried out.

Thanks to Bloowave, a platform that is totally disrupting the medical services industry, physicians and patients now have the ability to take ultrasound scans from just about any location and share them with physicians and other health-care providers via the cloud.

And all of this can be achieved through the use of a device that is as small as a mobile phone.

The technology is being welcomed by local doctors who feel that this will open up imaging services to rural areas by reducing the wait time for scans from traditional labs.

And it is also hoped that it will give a boost to the medical tourism sector by creating an interface between vacationers and their medical practitioners back home.

Dr Trevor Bygrave welcomes the technology and is hoping that it will receive full approval for use in Jamaica in a few months. “We recognise through this technology how quickly we can make diagnoses. The device is small, easily transported and it doesn’t come with a lot of attachments. A portable ultrasound unit like this would revolutionise the way we see this kind of diagnostic service in Jamaica. The device fits into your coat pocket and the bulkiest part of it is the tablet to which scans are downloaded before they are uploaded to the cloud via password encrypted systems. This is really hi-tech compared to the bulky machines that we have now with all the wires and connections attached.”

“If you had this on an ambulance and there was, for example, internal bleeding in a patient, the information could be sent ahead so the hospital could be prepared to treat the patient for the precise problem. If in the rural areas a patient has a heart problem, an echocardiogram could be taken which could even be sent overseas to be assessed by a cardiologist and you get the result back in no time. If, for example, somebody is on vacation, they would want to know that if they want a test such as an ultrasound to be done, the hotel would be able to send the information to their physician back home. And we already have a growing medical tourism industry in Jamaica with many patients coming from the Caribbean and elsewhere so this technology would only enhance that significantly.”

The device facilitates 3D imaging so when an ultrasound is done the physician can see the organ looking real and can get a better appreciation of what they are dealing with. “It is technology that would be useful for every doctor’s office to have,” said Mike Stouyiannos, president and CEO at Qoobex-Crunchbase, developers of the technology.

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“The device is FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approved and once it is approved in the US, I believe the local bodies will move to approve as well. The only limiting factor is the testing locally for the bodies to satisfy themselves that the technology is equivalent or better than the other systems that are available locally. I am sure that won’t be a problem because the device is fairly new,” said Dr Bygrave.

With the device clocking in at close to US$ 5,000, cost would be a factor but Dr Bygrave said volume would have an impact on the price and he is certain that it will do well in Jamaica.

“It would be good to see Jamaica moving to where the First World countries are going. This would improve our marketability as a medical tourism destination.”

Dr June E Francis from Diamed Health Corporation said: “We need devices that are not huge and take up too much space in the office. If we can get help with making diagnoses at the tips of our fingers, that is what we need. I would definitely look to acquire a unit for my practice once it is approved for use in Jamaica. This would be a win-win situation for Jamaica because we would be able to get scan results quicker and people won’t have to line up at imaging centers in the way they do now.”

Stouyiannos said: “We chose Jamaica because it is a first-class destination. We believe it should benefit from the same technologies as America and the EU. There are many challenges with delivering health care to a large portion of the population, especially in rural areas and we believe that everyone should be entitled to the highest standard of health care.”

Dr Bygrave said now that the product has been introduced to medical professionals in Jamaica, the next step would be to conduct workshops and file the necessary requests for approvals with the Ministry of Health, the Bureau of Standards and other relevant agencies.

Andrew Clunis

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