Intelligent Ultrasound Partners with Mediscan to Help Unlock Ultrasound in India

ScanTrainer transvaginal module in use

Intelligent Ultrasound Partners with Mediscan to Help Unlock Ultrasound in India

At Intelligent Ultrasound (IU) it’s our vision to unlock ultrasound, making it accessible to all medical professionals. In this blog, we’re proud to tell the story and provide an update on our partnership with Mediscan, which working together, is allowing us to do just that in India.

1,000,000 babies scanned

Established by husband-and-wife Drs. Suresh and Indrani Seshadri, Mediscan was formed to fulfil the enormous diagnostic potential of ultrasound in India. The objective: to enable ultrasound to reach every person who needed it, regardless of their financial standing.

In 1982 Mediscan opened its doors in Chennai to all government centres and corporation units, offering a service providing ultrasound for diagnosis.

Less than a year later and Mediscan started receiving referrals from across states, with some patients travelling more than 500 kilometres to access the service. While the cost of the scan itself was minimal at the time, the cost to the patient to travel was not. In 1983 the doctors decided to start training people. They encouraged health professionals from across India (particularly rural areas) to train with them in ultrasound, then start their own ultrasound centre. Over 5,200 doctors trained in a bid to make ultrasound accessible to as many Indian families as possible. To date, Mediscan has provided more than 1,000,000 scans to expectant mothers who, thanks to Mediscan, have been able to check the health of their babies and where required put a treatment plan in place. The doctors it has trained have carried out many, many more.

A change of focus – ultrasound training

While the clinic continued to offer ultrasounds to the community, training quickly became “the DNA” of the company. Dr S Suresh explained the reason behind this “Healthcare professionals from all specialities, including gastroenterologists and orthopaedic surgeons, were encouraged to train. Training was not difficult at that time, the number of patients willing to be scanned by a novice, as part of their training, were vast, it was a novel thing. However, when access to ultrasound machines increased, people became reluctant to be scanned by non-experts and another method of training was needed.”

The doctors started to use phantoms to deliver training. This allowed students to practice probe movements prior to scanning live patients. It was at an AIUM meeting in the United States that Mediscan first experienced the concept of computer-based simulation. However, while the technology looked appealing, it was unproven and cost prohibitive to a private centre with no external funding. Mediscan therefore continued to train on phantoms and real patients.

A ‘defining moment’

In 2013, the doctors invested in Mediscan’s first simulator, a good solution for trainees who had no exposure to ultrasound “they were comfortable making mistakes on a manikin, removing the stress of a real patient allowed them to practice and learn more”.

It was at ISUOG Singapore that Dr S Suresh first met IU. Having looked at simulation platforms from other suppliers at the event, what he saw on the IU stand surpassed his expectations. Dr Suresh commented, “When I saw ScanTrainer, it was love at first sight! When scanning with the platform, the advanced technology at that time blew me away – it could add real value to our training programs”.   

Following a conversation with the President of ISUOG and a formal introduction to IU, a new partnership was born. Within a few months, IU visited the team in Chennai. Two days later, a ScanTrainer was on route to Mediscan, something Dr S Suresh describes as a “defining moment”.

ScanTrainer – unlocking ultrasound in India

The only ultrasound skills training simulator to offer curriculum-based teaching using real patient scans and haptic feedback, ScanTrainer provided Mediscan’s students with real-time assisted guidance and comprehensive metric-based assessment in one system. 

Dr Suresh explained why ScanTrainer was the right solution for Mediscan “ScanTrainer has a probe that replicates an ultrasound probe. The haptic provides students with the feeling they get when putting a probe on a patient and uses real scans – so as close to a real-life scenario, in a simulated environment, as possible”.

Dr Suresh went on to praise ScanTrainer’s unique training approach “A student can listen to one of the 150 plus training modules in an accent they understand, practice and then undergo a test – a sequential learning pathway for trainees. Courses can also be designed by adding custom modules, and our own volumes, which is a real value add when training 20 plus students and they can’t all view an anomaly on the same live patient”.

Following a change in the law in India, where sonographers are no longer able to scan patients, ScanTrainer is now being used by Mediscan to train doctors in ultrasound.

To date, Mediscan has trained over 400 students using ScanTrainer, supported technically by IU’s in-country partner Sandor.

Chief Technology Officer Nicholas Sleep commented “Dr Suresh is one of the most inspiring people I have met. What he has achieved with Mediscan is unbelievable. Combined with his reputation as a key opinion leader in systematic ultrasound scanning, his endorsement of ScanTrainer means a lot to me. IU couldn’t be prouder to be helping Dr. Suresh and Mediscan improve ultrasound education in India.”

Dr Suresh commented “I was interested in simulation as a training tool and artificial intelligence for clinical work, IU fulfilled both of these requirements and continues to deliver”.

4 years later and the partnership continues to flourish. Next on the agenda for Dr S Suresh is BabyWorks, which he describes as incredible! Workshop planning is already underway!

Find out more about ScanTrainer:

ScanTrainer offers a unique self-learning scanning experience in OBGYN and general medicine that replicates being taught one-to-one by an expert.