TechNation recently contacted industry experts to find out the latest about ultrasound probes and transducers and what HTM professionals need to know to maintain these devices and help prepare their health care facilities for the future.
Q: What are the latest advances in ultrasound probes/transducers in the past few years?
Grozelle: Recently the innovations in ultrasound can be found in both crystal density along with new wireless technology. By increasing crystal density systems are able to image at higher resolutions and also create 3D images without the need for moving parts. Adding wireless and new battery technology has enabled new bedside quick use transducers to be used with systems as simple as a tablet.
Q: How will these advances impact the maintenance of probes/transducers and ultrasound systems?
Grozelle: With these new compact high-density transducers the risk from impact damage and misuse increases. These transducers require a closer eye for care before repairable damage occurs.
Q: How can a facility with a limited budget meet its probe and transducer needs?
Grozelle: Maintain a PM schedule that involves inspecting transducers on a quarterly basis. Catching issues like cuts in the lens or noise when the cable is moved will lead to lower repair costs along with a lower total cost of ownership.
Q: What criteria should be used to compare and select a probe/transducer repair company?
Grozelle: A simple measure of quality from a repair company is an ISO 13485:2003 certification. Also consider their average repair time and use of OEM parts for repair.
Q: What are the most important tips you can share when it comes to maintaining probes/transducers?
Grozelle: Inspect regularly and be vigilant on issues that might just seem cosmetic, a simple crack on the housing of a transducer can lead to gel getting into electronic components and causing costly damage.
Q: What else do you think TechNation readers need to know about purchasing and servicing ultrasound probes/transducers?
Grozelle: Beware of “aftermarket” transducers. Many are available online, these items claim to be from the OEM but are mostly made up of low-cost substitute parts, and not cleared by the FDA for use on patients.
Find this article on Technation