Less than ten years ago, when I became a mom, the only way to obtain an ultrasound image of a baby in utero was to lie in a chilly room next to a 4-foot console while a tech slathered gel across your stomach and wanded your belly from all angles for at least 20 minutes. In 2014, just three years after I had my daughter, Health Tech Insider covered a patent for a small mobile ultrasound device that connects to a smartphone. Now, Israeli startup PulseNmore is putting just such a device into the hands of thousands of pregnant women through a partnership with Clalit Health Services, Israel’s largest public HMO.
PulseNmore has minimized ultrasound technology into a palm-sized piece with a sensor on the bottom and a phone dock on the top. Leading-edge navigation tools and AI algorithms interface with an app that guides the user through the imaging process. A pregnant woman can place ultrasound gel on her own abdomen and then slide the bottom of the device across her belly while viewing her baby on her phone.
I doubt I’m alone in thinking that, had an at-home ultrasound been available during my first pregnancy, I’d have struggled not to use it every day. Several times a day. Maybe even most of the day. But the PulseNmore device doesn’t simply assuage first-time parent jitters and make it easy for parents-to-be to overshare baby videos before they’ve even set eyes on their child.
A review of more than 1,300 self-scans showed that the device can capture fetal movement, heart activity, and amniotic fluid with 95% accuracy. It’s already an approved medical device in Israel, has earned the EU’s CE mark, and is currently under review by the FDA. Following the intial rollout by Clalit Health Services, the company intends to release the device on the European market.
Clearly, PulseNmore can reduce in-person doctor visits for a vulnerable population during the COVID-19 crisis; it also gives parents access to fast care that can help them avoid the emergency room when problems arise. And PulseNmore could potentially increase access to prenatal monitoring in underserved locations, diagnose and monitor other health conditions, and provide cost-effective care to users around the globe.