I had several patients forward me the video on the new BUTTERFLY ULTRASOUND. This device, which attaches to an iphone, is a $2,000 attachment to the iphone that works as an inexpensive ultrasound unit.

I have checked it out, having become aware of it from my daughter-in-law who is in her Emergency Medicine Residency training program at UCSF.

The ultrasound has become an essential diagnostic device in the E.R., as it allows for rapid assessment of internal derangements that indicate bleeding, blood accumulation, fluid accumulation, blood clots, etc… She has become skilled at using the ultrasound in rapid fashion to assess patients with life-threatening issues and to rapidly rule-in or rule-out various conditions that would otherwise require time-consuming testing.

Although very useful in the emergency setting, it is not clear that it would be as useful in the general office setting, as the test results are not explicit enough for subtle findings or complex diagnostics. Still, in an underserved area, where excellent ultrasound is not readily available, I can see this being a game-changer (rural areas, underserved countries).

I’m a fan of technology, and the iphone is an amazing hand-held computer that has multiple uses, but for now, the Butterfly does not sting like the bee……in the general medical office just yet.