Mobile Ultrasonography Unit Essay Examples & Outline

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Mobile Ultrasonography Unit

Ultrasound imaging forms one of the most important modalities for obstetrical observation and evaluation. The use of the technology has proven to be effective in the detection of the recurrent maternal and neonatal risks. Lack of any side effect of the ultrasound makes it ideal for a widespread deployment campaign. Enabling rural midwives with little understanding of the ultrasound technology to operate the ultrasound equipment is important for the diagnosis of any anomalies in the babies.

When the mothers have the right knowledge about the baby defects, they are in a better position to make informed choices about the way forward. They can decide where they will deliver their babies. It is also difficult for the expectant mothers in rural areas to travel to distant health facilities for ultrasound screening. The travel is also prohibitively expensive. By looking at the needs of the women and midwives in the rural areas, the portable ultrasound devices will increase the effectiveness and quality of the antenatal care. The mobile ultrasound devices will be compact and less costly than the generic devices. It will also improve the use of the resources in the areas since the referrals to the main hospitals will be done in an accurate manner.

Situation analysis

In as much as the manufacturers of the ultrasound devices have expanded their product lines to encompass the portable and less expensive equipment, the availability of the equipment in the rural areas are also wanting. Some people may look at the sluggish adoption of the technology because of the cost of the equipment. However, the issue of the complex user interface is also valid.

In order for the devices to receive the widespread acceptance and use in the rural areas, redesigning them is important such that the interface is user friendly. Therefore, the winning ultrasound will be the one that has attained the goals of streamlined functionality, simplified user interface and reduced cost of the tool. The paper dismisses the notion that the increased technical functionality is better. On the flipside, the paper postulates that the streamlining of the user interface is important in order for there to be reduced training costs.

Swot analysis

Strengths

The main source of acceptance for the equipment comes from the small and compact size of the equipment. Smaller ultrasound devices have their main advantage being the ability of the healthcare officials to work with the device in any part. Most of the rural areas may lack the centralized facilities that demand a lot of movement of the patients (Dickson, 2008). The nature of the settlements in the rural areas also makes is logistically impossible to locate a medical facility in a central place and access all the people.

Therefore, the small size of the device makes it possible for the medical officials to make temporary medical camps in the areas according to a predetermined schedule. This makes it possible for the medical care to reach all the people in the area.

The smaller ultrasound devices also have the advantage of low electric usage. It has been noted that the devices have a shorter battery life since most of them have a batter life of 1-2 hours. However, the set up costs are minimal (Dickson, 2008). The machine can be powered using the normal 250v sockets in the event that the location of the portable unit is in a place with electricity.

Even if the places where the ultrasound is to be performed does not have the power needed, the machine can use the power from a gasoline generator, which will increase the usage. Assuming that each of the patients’ needs a maximum of 15 minutes per session, only eight patients can be screened on the normal battery life. However, with the charging option from a generator, the machine can be used even in the areas where there is no electricity.

The equipment has a graphical user interface that makes it possible for the midwives to operate in the right manner. Predecessors of the equipment use complex and technical user interfaces that make it difficult for any person without proper training on the operation of the ultrasound to operate (Thompson & others, 2010). The new equipment does not harbor the limitations that the predecessors had in terms of the equipment’s control.

A simplified user interface is important in the creation of understanding on the best approaches that can be used to control the equipment. The training costs of the midwives that will be operating the equipment are also cheaper with a simplified interface (Thompson & others, 2010). This makes it possible for the portable ultrasound equipment to be accepted in the rural areas since there is a high level of acceptance of the machine and the technology that it uses is not as technical as the other generic machines.

The custom user interface allows the midwives to obtain quality scans with considerable ease (Dickson, 2008). They midwives also have the ability of knowing where they are in the task flow of the exam. The design of the interface adheres to the typical OB exam protocols. This aspect of the ultrasound equipment accommodates the users that have performed few ultrasounds. The cognitive burden of understanding the exam components is shifted to the software on which the equipment runs on.

This makes it possible for the midwives that do not have any prior experience with the ultrasound to work out the way around the equipment (Brunette et al., 2010). The equipment also allows the midwives to optimize the images to suit the needs of the patient and the midwife.

The final strength in that the machine has is that it is affordable. Most of the producers of the ultrasound devices sell their equipment at prohibitive prices. Most of the devices made by the competitors lack in some aspects (Dickson, 2008). The expensive ultrasound devices have all the basic functionality but they are inconsiderate of the financial needs of the people in rural areas. Because of the high purchase cost, the ultrasound costs will be high.

Highly priced ultrasounds are not affordable for the majority of the people in the rural Mississippi area. There is a second generation of ultrasound created by the emerging companies (Brunette et al., 2010). The new ultrasounds range from 7000-9000 USD. However, the cheaper versions of the portable ultrasounds lack in ergonomics. They have small screens and the battery life makes it difficult to use them in the rural areas.

Weakness

In as much as the equipment is critical for the prevention of maternal and neonatal deaths, there are some aspects of the equipment and the intended users that need evaluation (Thompson & others, 2010). The first issue is the fact that the equipment calls for basic understanding of computers and ultrasound imaging. Training the people to use the equipment in the right manner may be impossible in the event that they do not have even the most basic understanding of the ultrasound imaging.

Therefore, the training of the midwives will have to start with the dimensions of ultrasound imaging. This training cannot be effectively handled in the short period of marketing the equipment hence the issue of the quality of service. Training the members of the public on the computer usage is also time consuming (Thompson & others, 2010). The ideal situation in which the equipment will be able to sell is when the midwives have the most basic training in ultrasonography (Brunette et al., 2010). Making the required promotion consideration for the equipment will also demand that the marketing include the training bit, which is not part of the marketing objective.

In as much as the battery life of the laptop used alongside the ultrasound is enhanced, there are some situations that will demand that the batteries be charged. Finding the right source of energy in a remote area could prove to be a challenge for the management. Failures of the equipment may occur at any instant (Thompson & others, 2010). This means that the equipment will be invalid. Most of the failures could come from the inherent computer related malwares.

Dealing with such situations will demand that the portable ultrasound unit comes up with back up equipment is which add to the costs. Another weakness is that some of the midwives that will be using the ultrasounds lack the necessary training to interpret the images. This means that in as much as the midwives may have arrived at the right approach of conducting the ultrasound, the prescriptive value of the images may not be fully utilized since the nurses or midwives may not have the necessary training (Brunette et al., 2010). This means that the expectant mothers have to travel once again to the hospitals for further observation and recommendation of the way forward. This thwarts the need of creating a portable unit since the goal of minimizing the movement will not be attained.

Opportunities

Most of the companies involved in the production of the portable ultrasound units are hinged on the creation of technical equipment. The ability of the company to come up with a unique, functional yet simple ultrasound machine is an opportunity that the company can leverage on to create more acceptance among the target public. Working with the simplified version of the portable ultrasound equipment is important for the creation of the anticipated acceptance (Dickson, 2008).

Development in the solar industry and sustainable energy is an opportunity for the unit. The management can purchase computers that have the ability to be charged using the solar energy. This will rule out the issue of short battery life. Design of luxury buses to form a mobile clinic is an upcoming strategy in the creation of better mobile ultrasonography units (Brunette et al., 2010). The ability of the management to come up with the required design of a mobile unit that is not susceptible to the current weaknesses depends on how well it will adopt the opportunities.

Threats

Technology is mainly affected by the issue of obsolescence. The technology that is currently used in the large hospitals for ultrasound may not be valid in the next few years. This threat also applies for the mobile ultrasonography technology (Brunette et al., 2010). Most of the people will come up with new approaches of handling ultrasounds that will eventually push the innovation out of the market. The competition in the creation of the portable ultrasounds is also increasing.

The major players in the market include Philips and Siemens. The two companies spend significant amounts on research and development. The chances of the competitors coming up with better technology are high (Brunette et al., 2010). Therefore, in order for the mobile units to survive. They have to work with the best technology in the market while still being conscious of the cost dimension. The government may come up with new regulations that state the threshold of the ultrasound examinations. Creation of the threshold means that the technology that is in use may end up being outdated. This threat of regulations is always present hence; the mobile unit has to be in consideration of the next course of action.

STEEP ANALYSIS

Social

Most of the people in northeast Mississippi are in their middle ages ranging from 40-60 years. The aging population relies mainly on farming hence; it is not capable of paying for the medical care in a hospital. The mobile ultrasonography unit will enable the poor and middle income-earning members of the community to access high quality medical attention. The women in the rural areas will also be able to receive screening even if they are in the far-flung areas.

Technology

Technology used in the creation of the ultrasonography is not all-inclusive. The competition uses mobile ultrasonography units that have a shorter battery life. However, with the long battery life unit that is also rechargeable, the number of scans that will be conducted using the machine will increase. However, the innovations in the industry demand that there is continuous improvement of the products.

Economic

Most of the people in the area covered in this paper are farmers and the financial ability is constrained. Therefore, the cost of medical care is always prohibitive if it is offered in the normal environments. Constant trips to the health facilities are always too costly for the people hence they end up receiving substandard health care. The mobile ultrasound units will ensure that the people are able to afford the needed medical attention at the most convenient manners.

Ecological

Sustainability in the production used in the creation of the product is important for the product to receive the anticipated legitimacy. Power usage of the machine is sustainable since it can go for longer with the same power compared to the competitors in the market. The material used in the production of the machine is also sustainable given that the majority of the component parts are recyclable. Making of the product also seeks to minimize the level of waste in line with the international and regional regulations.

Political/ legal

Production process used in the creation of the mobile ultrasonography units is designed according to the legal requirements of the United States. The quality of the images processed by the devices is also in accordance with the requirements set by the medical associations. Therefore, the product has the capability to perform according to the expectations of the medical professionals. It has also been tested and proven to meet the minimum standards.

MARKET MIX

The product is the focus that is employed in the marketing campaign. The product has the ability to sell since it has the ability to function. The ergonomics of the product are also important given that it has the portability and appeal needed in any product. The pricing of the product is also considerate of the needs of the clientele. Mobile ultrasonography units are better priced compared to the fixed ones (Kotler & Armstrong, 1991). The people aspect in the marketing campaign is made up of the demographics and the incomes of the families in Mississippi. The main approach that will be used in the promotion of the product will be advertising using the mainstream media (Pride & Ferrell, 2008). However, targeted personal selling will be used for the medical officers in the area that use door to door visits.

SWOT analysis Quadrant
Positive Negative
Internal Strengths weaknesses
External Opportunities Threats

References

Brunette, W., Gerard, W., Hicks, M., Hope, A., Ishimitsu, M., & Prasad, P. et al. (2010). Portable antenatal ultrasound platform for village midwives, 23.
Dickson, B. (2008). Wireless Communication Options for a Mobile Ultrasound System.
Kotler, P., & Armstrong, G. (1991). Principles of marketing (1st ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Pride, W., & Ferrell, O. (2008). Marketing (1st ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Thompson, M., & others,. (2010). The future of portable ultrasound: business strategies for survival.