If you work in a critical care environment, chances are that your requirements when performing ultrasonography are different from others. In this document, an attempt is made to highlight the features of ultrasound machines that facilitate your working in critical care environments.
Perhaps the most important aspect is the size of your ultrasound scanner; a compact size and low-weight machine is best for use in critical care settings, since mobility is a major factor that affects your working in such settings. If you can easily move your equipment from one place to another, chances are that you will be more productive.
What is the benefit of using an ultrasound scanner if you cannot get high-quality images that shape your clinical decisions? High quality 2-D images are important for your working and your equipment should be able to provide this. Additionally, your monitor should have a wide viewing angle making it possible for you to interpret the images from different directions. Moreover, the availability of multiple live ports that make it possible for you to switch between different transducers facilitates your working further.
The next important aspect is the ease with which you can use your equipment. Ultrasound systems having extended battery backups and short boot-up times should be preferred. Placement of important buttons and their relative sizes on the keyboard should be given due consideration, since they facilitate your working during times of stress.
Your critical care ultrasound scanner should be durable enough to endure the unfavorable critical care work environment. It is very common for medical equipment to sustain damages; hence parts like probes and probe-holders, that are likely to suffer the most should be easily replaceable.
A variety of options for image archival should be available. Data transfer to and from CDs, DVDs and external data storage devices should be possible. The ultrasound machine should be able to print images, since this is a common requirement. Customizability to different workflow environments is essential and it is preferable that your ultrasound equipment has the capability to connect with hospital data management systems wirelessly. This allows convenient retrieval of patient data and prevents errors from creeping into patient files.
Lastly, the ultrasound equipment should provide sufficient storage options. Gels, gloves, towels, probe covers and other instruments that are frequently needed for use during critical care ultrasonography should be readily available.