Dr Gonzalo E. Díaz Murillo



Diagnostic ultrasound and computers. Hardware, software

Medical Informatics is a class of Biomedical Engineering that deals with information. It lets us join hardware, software and clinical data to interact on medical applications. This interaction lets us improve diagnosis, treatment, research, statistics, etc. This is why ultrasound computer-aided diagnosis outgrows traditional ultrasound limits.

We should know that any ultrasound machine has at least one built-in microprocessor. Many use old XT (8088) processors. These ultrasound machines also use pieces of software to create and display images out of the analog data the transducers obtain. New machines are digital now. This software also performs other functions like measurements, pre and post processing, date and time calculations, obstetric tables, area and volume, etc.

We can connect the complex transducer/power supply to a computer by means of a proper interface and take advantage of all the information the transducer collects.

For example, the range of amplitudes within the body can surpass 100 dB and a good monitor can just display about 30 dB. Manufactures use compression to display just soft tissue interfaces, missing lots of valuable information. We can use these wasted data to obtain valuable information

Of course, this is just a small example out of many improvements we could do. I have published several articles about this years ago and hope to put it into practice as soon as I get the necessary resources. We could dramatically reduce costs while improving quality.