Did you know that medical imaging can help determine the cause of 70 to 80 percent of diagnostic problems? X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds are examples of common imaging tools used today.
Understanding ultrasound interpretations can be challenging for many people. However, knowing how to interpret the results can help you educate other staff members and patients alike.
Medical imaging has helped change lives and prevent devastating illnesses. Ultrasound is used to diagnose and prevent illnesses but can have other therapeutic purposes that will be highlighted below.
What Is Ultrasound?
When you think of ultrasound the first thing that comes to mind is most likely a pregnancy. Many women flock to the doctor’s office to find out if they are having a boy or girl and check on the health of their baby.
This example gives great insight into the safety of ultrasound and its benefits. Essentially, ultrasound uses sound waves to help gather images of different internal parts of your body.
These images will be displayed immediately onto a screen and can be saved for a radiologist to interpret later on. Most commonly, ultrasounds are used for pregnancy, diagnosis of soft tissue or organ conditions, medical procedures, and treatment for soft tissue injuries.
Be aware that ultrasound does have its limitations – often, it is difficult to see bone or organs that hold gas (such as your bowels). Other scans may be more beneficial in these instances.
Why Get an Ultrasound?
There are many medical imaging tools in the healthcare industry today. Why pick an ultrasound over other ones, such as an X-ray?
First, ultrasound doesn’t use radiation and lessens your exposure to harmful rays. Many clinics are trying to push for physicians to order MRIs and ultrasounds, if appropriate, for that very reason.
You’ve already heard the example of pregnancy as use for an ultrasound. What other options are there?
Many clinicians use ultrasound to locate veins. If you have difficult veins for IV access, or there hasn’t been a success, you might see an ultrasound machine brought up.
It can also identify free fluid in the abdomen or be used as a tool to better examine your internal organs and tissues.
An ultrasound reading is usually performed by the radiologist. They are trained in interpreting and analyzing different medical images. However, it is important for health care providers to have a basic understanding of what an ultrasound is showing.
When looking at an ultrasound image, you’ll notice a lot of varying shades of grey. Some areas might even appear black. It can be very difficult to see what you are looking at when you don’t know what the different shades of color mean.
You already read that ultrasound can’t go through bone. This means that it will show up as black on an ultrasound reading. Blood vessels will also appear in this manner, but cartilage and muscles will show up as gray.
Blood takes on a bit of a different system. Radiologists refer to the acronym B.A.R.T to help them remember how blood vessels work and appear on the screen. This stands for: blue away, red toward.
Basically, the flow going towards the ultrasound probe will appear red and that going away will appear blue. Most veins will collapse under some pressure of an ultrasound, whereas arteries will pulsate and tend not to collapse at all.
It is also important to remember that if you change the angle of the probe of the ultrasound wand, it will change the viewpoint of different structures. Studying your anatomy and planes will be helpful in knowing what you are looking at.
How Is Telehealth Beneficial?
Recently, COVID-19 has impacted the healthcare industry. It has also changed how people work and interact with each other. It is no secret that many Americans shifted to work from home and Zoom calls instead of boring in-office work and meetings.
The healthcare field is also trying to change for the better. Telehealth is a way to communicate between patients and health care providers in a quick and easy manner. All you need is your phone, tablet, or laptop and you are ready to go.
Some companies offer what is called teleradiology. This service will include the telehealth option while providing patients or health care employees with experienced and certified radiologists to work with. These radiologists can help you interpret various types of medical imaging.
They also use top-of-the-line technology and services to make sure that all of the information is remaining HIPPA compliant. The benefit to telehealth is that you can have access to this anywhere at any time.
It also doesn’t limit the door on who you are able to work with. Radiologists should have the opportunity to communicate across the country and use their services to help broaden their practice.
This can be an amazing tool for users and radiologists alike and is something to consider when you are dealing with difficult images, or want a second opinion.
The Bottom Line
So, you have read up on how ultrasound can be beneficial to use in the medical field. You have seen that it is oftentimes a safer choice than other medical imaging tools. Now you need to decide how to move forward from here.
If you have no understanding of reading ultrasounds or even a moderate grasp, it is helpful to have a connection to skilled and educated radiologists. Radiologists interpret medical images on a daily basis and have received extended education to help them diagnose different illnesses based on the images received.
Not to worry – check out a skilled telehealth service for your ultrasound interpretations and rest easy knowing that you have top-end providers at the touch of a butto