The Society of Point of Care Ultrasound
We have all been there, with so many machines and models available where do you start? Full featured POCUS machines can run anywhere from $80,000 to very limited machines that cost a couple of thousand. Which is best for you practice? The answer to this question is highly individualized and dependent upon individual/program needs and mission, resource availability and constraints, and practice or academic environment.Your practice or academic program may run anywhere from "I just want to learn a couple of applications", to "we need a machine to do TEE and mitral inflow measurements and TDI".
First our financial disclaimer: SPOCUS can help you navigate the waters of this huge capital purchase, but we want all our members to understand we do not have a financial relationship with ultrasound manufacturers. This means we don't make any money from the sale or referrals.
Again, we don't endorse using any particular company, but this site from Providian Medical will help you make some comparisons between each of the models.
We have some experience with this process and would like to put you into a position where you are working with a machine that works best for your situation.
There is a distinction between "academic pricing" and retail. We have partnered with some ultrasound manufactures to provide academic pricing for our members, however these units are intended to be used for learning purposes only. Billing studies using these machines is prohibited.
For example, General Electric has agreed to offer our members special pricing on the Dual Probe Vscan. If you are buying less than 5 units the cost is $7500, more than 5 units the cost is $6500 per machine.
We have also teamed up with another manufacturer who has generously included SPOCUS' members into their academic pricing scheme. Essentially the probes are leased, and they work by plugging into a commercial tablet or windows based cell phone. A dual probe system will cost about $250/month, based on a year lease. There is no other capital expenditure associated with the transaction, other than the cost of the tablet that is used as the screen.
If you are looking for a retail purchase we would be happy to assist you, provide some advice and put you in touch with reputable ultrasound manufactures. We have some great insight on features, reputation, service, warranty, durability, archivability, and image quality.
Some other considerations are purchasing a used machine with a warranty, and purchasing an off brand machine.
Keep in mind that the machine is not the only item you will need. Probes are by far the most expensive/fragile part of the machine and in many circumstances you will also need software that interfaces with your EMR or DICOM/PACS, to order, document your interpretations and findings and to store the images for billing and QA. QPath is one such program which allows the CUS director to track the number of studies each provider has completed, perform QA, and send feed back to the providers.
There are some great reviews on the major players in the handheld market. @wilkinsonjonny from CriticalCareNorthampton.com reviews six devices, while the Ultrasound Podcast crew compares the Butterfly iQ to Philips Lumify.