Why are Ultrasound Machines so Expensive?
It’s no secret that the healthcare industry in the U.S. is among the most expensive in the world. Healthcare in the U.S. is almost twice as expensive than any other developed country in the world at $3 trillion annually. That’s a lot of money any way you look at it. There are a lot of reasons why it’s so expensive to see the doctor or stay in a hospital for any amount of time, including administrative costs, multiple treatments, drug costs, and the cost of equipment. Among that high-priced equipment is the ultrasound machines that doctors use to diagnose patients. Machines like the Philips IU22 and GE Logiq range in price, but they are highly technically advanced machines and they don’t come cheap. So, why are ultrasound machines so expensive?
Demand is Increasing
An ultrasound exam is cheaper than a CT scan or MRI, and it doesn’t use ionizing radiation, so it’s being used in new practice areas. Doctors and medical professionals constantly find new areas to utilize them in, such as by anesthesiologists in the intensive-care unit and with obese patients. New and increasing state breast density laws, which require providers to notify patients about whether they have dense breast tissue, is another factor that’s driving utilization trends. Those patients often undergo ultrasound as an alternative form of mammography screening.
Even though the ultrasound itself is an older technology, the accompanying technology in the machines is cutting edge. It takes a lot of talented people to improve on old technology and make it better. Teams of engineers’ tweak and fine tune the ultrasound machines to make them more practical, smaller, and easier to use.
Hardware and Software
The hardware and software that power a standard ultrasound machine comes with its own costs. The transducers monitors and control panels all have a high level of engineering and technology within them. Programs written to store data and images within the machine, and make them accessible, takes a team of programmers, and they don’t work for free either.
Advances in Technology
The speed that technology advances is faster than ever. It’s dizzying how quickly computers, machines, and processes advance. Ultrasounds are no different. Now they are starting to incorporate AI and 4D imaging into ultrasounds, taking the technology into a whole new era. To continue to diagnose and fight terminal diseases, ultrasound machine manufacturers will continue to make better products.