Patients performing their own at-home ultrasound exams sounds like a pretty futuristic idea, but it’s becoming increasingly common in Israel due to a growing partnership between Clalit Health Services (Israel’s largest HMO) and DIY ultrasound startup Pulsenmore.
DIY Fertility Ultrasound – Clalit and Pulsenmore just signed an $11M agreement that will equip Clalit’s fertility treatment patients with thousands of Pulsenmore FC ultrasound systems over the next four years. The patients will use the Pulsenmore FC to perform self-exams during the IVF (in vitro fertilization) and fertility preservation processes and then transmit their scans to Clalit’s fertility clinicians.
Pulsenmore Momentum – Pulsenmore previously provided Clalit with thousands of Pulsenmore ES fetal ultrasound systems, allowing expecting mothers to perform and transmit nearly 15k fetal ultrasounds since mid-2020. Pulsenmore also landed an interesting deal with Tel Aviv’s Sheba Medical Center in early 2021 that allowed pregnant women in Sheba’s COVID ward to perform their own fetal ultrasounds and transmit the scans to the hospital’s maternity ward.
Pulsenmore Potential – Pulsenmore’s early momentum is certainly helped by Israel’s unique healthcare system, but the company also has a European CE Mark (for the ES system), $40M in IPO funding, and ambitions to expand globally.
The fact that thousands of ultrasounds are being used in Israeli homes shows that the home ultrasound concept has mainstream potential, and there’s a growing list of factors that could make it a reality. We’ve already seen a similar home system from Butterfly Network and a major industry trend towards smaller and easier to use ultrasounds (or even wearable), while the COVID pandemic has increasingly normalized at-home diagnostics and teleconsultations.
It will take some big changes for handheld ultrasounds to become MORE common than the stethoscope, but that idea doesn’t seem as ridiculous as it did a few years ago.