Remote ultrasound diagnostics disrupting traditional military frontline healthcare delivery

BMJ Mil Health. 2023 Oct;169(5):456-458. doi: 10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001821. Epub 2021 Aug 9.


Accurate and reliable diagnostic capability is essential in deployed healthcare to aid decision-making and mitigate risk. This is important for both the patient and the deployed healthcare system, especially when considering the prioritisation of scarce aeromedical evacuation assets and frontline resources. Novel ultrasound tele-guidance technology presents a valuable diagnostic solution for remotely deployed military clinicians. This report discusses the first use of a consultant radiologist guiding a clinician, untrained in ultrasound, to perform an ultrasound scan via a live tele-guidance feed in the deployed environment using the Butterfly iQ+ tele-guidance system. Distance scanning provided a diagnostic quality report when compared with locally performed imaging to improve patient care and maintain operational output. This example demonstrates feasibility of remote point-of-care imaging systems in provision of location-agnostic high-quality diagnostic capability. Future opportunities to develop care pathways using bedside tele-diagnostics will democratise access, drive efficiency and improve patient care experience and outcomes.

Keywords: diagnostic radiology; organisational development; primary care; telemedicine; ultrasonography.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Military Personnel*
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Telemedicine* / methods
  • Ultrasonography / methods