Clarius is a startup that has recently received 501k clearance to market its handheld ultrasound device. The device is waterproof and pairs with smartphones to display scans. The app also provides workflows for a variety of applications, helping Clarius claim that the device is ‘almost as easy to operate as your smartphone camera’. The product is categorized as a ‘point of care’ device, which represents about 15% of the $6 billion global ultrasound market.

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Ultrasound devices help physicians make better decisions because they can immediately see what is going on inside the body, without the harmful effects of radiation connected with X-rays. Ultrasound is mostly associated with women’s health and pregnancy, even though these applications only represent 20% of its overall use in healthcare. It has applications as a diagnosis tool in various health conditions like gallstones, cardiovascular disease and oncology. Ultrasound is also being used to triage trauma patients in emergency situations and provide image guidance when performing procedures such as biopsies and regional anesthesia.

Although ultrasound has a wide variety of clinical applications, many clinicians hesitate adopting the technology at the point of care due to its high price and difficulty of use. Laurent Pelissier, CEO of Clarius wants to change that. He believes his company’s device will usher in a new era for ultrasound.

“Over the past 15 years, due to miniaturization of ultrasound technology, which has made it more affordable and portable, ultrasound imaging has made its way to the point of patient care. […] We believe every doctor will own a handheld ultrasound that they use in daily practice — like a visual stethoscope.” – Laurent Pelissier, CEO of Clarius

Clarius Accident Scene

Why This Matters:

Medical devices are becoming more accessible, less expensive and easier to use. Due its limited impact on patients, ultrasound is developing entirely new medical use cases that could disrupt current diagnosis or procedural practices. This is being driven by the hardware development revolution. From Pelissier’s perspective:

“The digital health industry is at a crossroads where rapid progress in consumer technology is facilitating significant efficiencies in the development of medical device and health IT technologies. Whether through miniaturization, ease of use, or connectivity — companies are leveraging mainstream technology to improve the way healthcare is delivered.” – Laurent Pelissier, CEO of Clarius

What tools will medical professionals have at their disposal in the next 5-10 years? How will this affect diagnosis, the writing of prescriptions and the patient experience? Will the iconic stethoscope be replaced with something far cooler… and more powerful?

About the Author:

Zach Friedman