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Philips Introduces Subscription Model For App-Based Ultrasound

Philips has introduced Lumify, an ultrasound transducer that plugs into commercially available Android smart devices and tablets, part of a holistic ultrasound solution which includes a mobile app, access to an online portal, a warranty, and integrated IT and support services. Philips plans to distribute the system using a flexible subscription model, an approach that Philips projects will reduce upfront hospital costs and improve patient access to innovative care.

According to a Philips press release, Lumify can plug into compatible Android devices that have an internet connection, email functionality, and a USB port. Once the app is downloaded, caregivers can begin scanning.  Data collected will be housed in the Philips HealthSuite digital platform, a secure, cloud-based IT infrastructure that will facilitate collaborative care and allow access to research-enhancing analytics.

The system was designed for convenient use in both emergency care units and office settings, for a wide range of imaging indications including internal medicine, obstetrics, and orthopedics.

“Lumify has the potential to provide on-demand, point-of-care diagnostics in a more connected environment,” said Bret Nelson, an associate professor of Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai, in the press release. Nelson added that his medical students already are using the device and have found that pairing new technology with familiar devices made mastering the new technology easier for beginners and more convenient for experienced imagers.

Many next-generation medical devices take advantage of existing smart device capabilities and the revolutionizing potential of big data analytics. Devices ranging from pacemakers to continuous glucose monitors are designed to feature smartphone or tablet connectivity.

“In an increasingly connected world where the power of technology is at our fingertips, it’s no longer enough to create an ultrasound product or service,” said Randy Hamlin, VP and business segment leader for Philips.

Kamran Zamanian, senior research analyst for iData, recently told MedDeviceOnline that point-of-care applications represented the fastest growing segment of the ultrasound market. GE Healthcare launched the Vscan with a dual probe last year, and Signostics, an Australian med tech company, introduced portable ultrasound technology in 2009.

What may set Lumify apart — according to industry experts — is Philips’ unique approach to distribution. Instead of selling the system outright, they’re offering it to hospitals and approved organizations for an introductory subscription price of $199 per month.

Over the past decade, the subscription economy has begun to slowly transform the way the U.S. does business, and CEOs in all types of industry have begun to pursue business models where “access trumps ownership.

John Phillips — a VP at Zuora, an industry leader in providing subscription model platforms to business — told Forbes that this type of business is designed to create longevity, and companies can leverage their subscriptions into incentivized updates and product loyalty when new technology is introduced.

Though relatively new to the healthcare industry, the subscription business model could transform how hospitals approach their technology purchases by reducing upfront costs and guaranteeing access to the latest innovations.

In its press release, Philips announced that plans are underway to introduce software updates, new transducer models, and improved apps and services at regular intervals. “Lumify is a solution that will grow with its users,” stated the release.