The University of California at Irvine Medical School reportedly surprised its class of 104 incoming students with Butterfly iQ handheld ultrasound devices earlier this month.
The devices, which have a retail cost of $2,000 apiece, are the students’ to keep after the school’s dean, Dr. Michael Stamos, surprised the class of 2023 with the gift at the school’s White Coat Ceremony, according to a report by MobiHealthNews.
Nine years ago, UC-Irvine became the first medical school to give its students their own iPads, with Stamos presenting those gifts in a similar manner at the 2010 White Coat Ceremony.
The Butterfly iQ device uses ultrasound-on-a-chip technology designed for handheld, portable ultrasounds. The probe can perform a whole-body ultrasound and comes with a built-in battery built to last for over two hours of scanning, with wireless charging as well.
“From the very beginning, it’s an affirmation of this device and the role it could play in the transformation of healthcare,” Dr. John Martin, chief medical officer at Butterfly, told the website. “If you look across the practice of medicine, two-thirds of medical dilemmas can be solved with simple imaging devices. In the past, I had to order that test. Now, as a physician I don’t have to order that test; the test is in my pocket. I can communicate with my patients, I can share that information with them instantly, I can make rapid decisions, and that puts this school far out front of others across the country.”
“When our faculty director caught wind of Butterfly coming into existence, we had talked about this being a big game-changer for us,” added UC-Irvine associate dean Dr. Warren Wiechmann. “Historically, we had been using a lot of laptop and cart-based ultrasounds, which are technically portable but they’re not handheld and they are still a little bit limiting for our students. So when we heard about Butterflies, that really opened up the possibility that we could move toward this idea of having every student with an ultrasound machine in their pocket.”