As if pregnancy isn’t hard enough, now expecting mothers also have to deal with COVID-19. It’s not that they are necessarily at higher risk than others – data is largely unavailable still to determine the impact of the virus on pregnancies. But, the lack of data suggests pregnant women are taking extra precautions to avoid risk – there have been fewer than 16,000 confirmed cases among pregnant women in the U.S. (less than a third of a percent of the total confirmed cases).
Still, there are still situations where women have to go out into the wild world of COVID-19, like seeing their OB-GYN for routine pregnancy check-ups. With the advances the pandemic has driven in telehealth and the use of remote technologies, it’s hard to imagine at least some of these in-person visits can’t be handled remotely. Indeed, many doctors are leveraging virtual visits to discuss lab results and other routine follow-ups with their patients.
But soon-to-be moms still need office visits. Ultrasounds are just one example. So, how do they manage to ensure they stay safe? Soon, it may mean staying at home with a new device from an Israeli startup. PulseNmore has developed a remote handheld ultrasound device that allows women to perform scans at home. The small device docks to smartphones and uses advanced navigation and AI to help women easily perform ultrasounds.
With the new technology that even further extends the value of connected health, women will be able to perform their own ultrasounds at any time. OB-GYNs can view the scans and review them with patients either in real time through telehealth platforms, or they can be stored for doctors to review at a later time.
The ability to perform ultrasounds remotely gives future mothers and their families another layer of security in keeping their families safe during uncertain times. it goes further than that, though. Once this pandemic is finally over, the tool will make it much easier for women to perform the scans and communicate with their OB-GYNs conveniently and without having to dedicate time during work days for office visits.
Doctors will find themselves for more office time for those patients who have needs that absolutely have to be addressed in-person, and the remote scanning capability could make enable them to identify complications earlier, when they can be managed more easily.
Clalit Health Services is Israel’s largest HMO and one of the largest public HMOs in the world, with 4.6 million insured members. It is the first healthcare provider to purchase the device, having signed a multi-year agreement to provide tens of thousands of its pregnant members with PulseNmore’s product. It believes the device will significantly reduce the number of ER visits by providing vital pregnancy information to healthcare providers to allow them to confirm a baby’s health.
PulseNmore’s device is currently undergoing FDA review for use in the United States.