GE Healthcare donates to a Vatican foundation ten Vscan™ Ultrasound Pocket-sized Visualization Tool, to help increase access to healthcare in Africa
ROME, ITALY, - NOVEMBER 18, 2010 – GE Healthcare today announced a donation to the Vatican foundation “The Good Samaritan”, created by Pope John Paul II and entrusted to Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers, of ten Vscans, its latest ultrasound pocket-sized visualization tool. The ten Vscans will be destined for deployment in ten hospitals operating in the Northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been afflicted by war and insecurity since 1996. Vscans will be particularly useful in providing visual information for the main diagnostic activities, and can allow physicians to help save innumerable human lives, as the ones of pregnant women, soon-to-be-born babies and elderly people affected by disease which, once they are identified, may potentially no longer have fatal/lethal outcomes.
In light of the work the Vatican carries out in developing countries, Reinaldo Garcia, President & CEO of GE Healthcare - Europe, Middle East and Africa, whom has been received by His Holiness the Pope Benedict XVI at an audience yesterday, has offered the Vscan, to enhance the physical examination with an immediate, non-invasive method to help secure visual information about what is happening inside the body. This pocket- sized ultrasound technology will also aim to broaden access to healthcare to the local people of Africa, enabling clinicians to take healthcare to the patient rather than the patient to the healthcare provider. In some African countries the mere localization of a trained doctor is a real challenge, and can sometimes lead to a worsened condition (including reduced quality of care and increased healthcare costs), or even death.
‘We are very pleased to make this donation to the Vatican for deployment across Africa.
At GE Healthcare we are committed to developing more targeted technologies that will address the burden of healthcare not only in developed countries but also developing ones such as Africa, the latter primarily struggling with simple access to healthcare. We cannot afford not to,” said Reinaldo Garcia. ‘ Through healthymagination and the development of new technologies we are committed to help overcome main healthcare challenges such as cost, access and quality. It will require more collaboration, partnerships, clear thinking and the courage to do things differently, and at GE Healthcare we believe we can play a big part in this,‘ concluded Garcia.
Roughly the size of a smart phone, GE Healthcare’s Vscan houses powerful ultrasound technology that provides clinicians with an immediate, non-invasive method to help secure visual information about what is happening inside the body. Vscan is portable and can easily be taken from room to room to be used in many clinical, hospital, primary care settings or even more remote rural areas of Africa. 
In addition to the donation of leading ultrasound technologies, GE Healthcare will deliver clinical training to local African clinicians. GE has a broad team of global experts that will share best practice on how this technology is to be used. Vscan is designed with intuitive features to make it easy to use in both urban and rural areas of Africa.
The ability to take a quick look inside the body using Vscan may help clinicians detect disease earlier. The portability of these imaging devices and the capability to link to a PC to export data and transfer images via the Internet is well suited for countries in Africa, which simply do not on many cases have the infrastructure and /or manpower to provide care to the large population living in rural areas.
Reinaldo Garcia has also been invited to speak at the XXV International Conference – Toward an Equitable and Human Health Care in the Light of the Encycliad Caritas in Veritate (New Synod Hall, Vatican City), on Thursday 18 November 2010, addressing the topic; Ethics and Access to Healthcare Technologies.
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GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.
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Vscan offers the image quality that until recently was only available with a console ultrasound. Vscan leverages GE’s high-quality black and white image technology and color-coded blood flow imaging in a device that fits into a pocket and weighs less than one pound at 3 inches wide and 5.3 inches long.
Other features include:
- An online portal provides Vscan users with training tools for the product and basic clinical applications with sections about imaging technique, anatomy and trouble shooting
- Intuitive user interface that can be controlled using the thumb
- Intelligent workflow enhancements
- Battery charger station and battery life of one hour scanning – good for up to 30 patients based on average of 2 minutes per scan
- Voice annotation
- USB docking station
- Link to a PC for organization and export of data
- Gateway software with services tools and remote diagnostics
The Vscan is a prescription device for ultrasound imaging, measurement and analysis in the clinical applications of abdominal; cardiac (adult and pediatric); urological, fetal/OB; pediatric; and thoracic/pleural motion and fluid detection, as well as for patient examination in primary care and in special care areas.
 Vscan has not been validated for outdoor use