Atrium Health and Butterfly Network Drive Innovation in Medical Imaging During COVID-19 Battle

05.13.2020 Atrium Health News

CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 13, 2020 – Atrium Health is proud to be the first major health system in the nation to put into wide practice a new point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) device. Produced by Butterfly Network, Inc., the Butterfly iQ is the world’s first portable, single-probe, whole-body ultrasound device. This POCUS device features a hand-held probe that connects to a smartphone or tablet, allowing a physician to quickly and safely examine various areas of a patient’s body, whether they are in their exam room or doing a home visit. In addition to examinations, the Butterfly iQ helps clinicians with common procedures like vascular access and putting in central lines. Unlike an X-ray or CT, it does not subject the patient to radiation and reduces infection risk to hospital staff by bringing imaging to the bedside.

“For decades, the mental image of a doctor has been someone with a stethoscope around their neck. Going forward, this revolutionary portable ultrasound device may be just as critical for the medical professional,” said Dr. Rasu Shrestha, executive vice president, and chief strategy and transformation officer at Atrium Health. “The Butterfly iQ devices have already given Atrium Health greater abilities in screening and monitoring COVID-19 patients by providing an immediate and clear picture of what’s happening in a patient’s lungs. But we see its benefit going well beyond the current pandemic. Our teams are already using it to provide care for heart patients, and we anticipate this device ushering in a new era of frontline care.”

Rasu Shrestha, MD

Atrium Health has deployed a large fleet of Butterfly iQ devices, which have already been used to perform thousands of scans under an agreement with Butterfly Network, Inc. The devices are active at more than 30 high-priority locations, such as COVID-19 testing centers, emergency departments, intensive care units and Atrium Health’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute. Butterfly iQ runs on a software platform designed to simplify the ultrasound workflow and works directly within existing systems while staying secure with cloud-based security tools. 

Butterfly iQ’s uniquely small size and portability enables healthcare practitioners to safely clean the device and move between patients quickly, which is not possible with other common imaging technologies such as large ultrasound machines or other scanning machines. Atrium Health and Butterfly are continuing discussions about additional applications of the technology, including integrating it into training at a future state-of-the-art school of medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Point-of-care ultrasound has played an important role in helping health systems respond to the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. We have seen it used to assess initial lung and cardiac involvement, as well as to monitor disease progression for patients isolated in urgent care facilities, quarantined in the home or even in Atrium Health’s COVID-19 Virtual Hospital,” said Dr. John Martin, Butterfly’s chief medical officer. “The value of the Butterfly iQ extends well beyond this particular pandemic. Its ability to streamline workflow and provide clinicians important tools they need to help patients, right at their fingertips, is changing the future of medical imaging forever.”

As the recognized leader among health systems in the Southeast, Atrium Health has the region’s only Level I trauma center, with Carolinas Medical Center consistently rated among the nation’s best hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. Atrium Health has received the highly coveted Quest for Quality Prize by the American Hospital Association, delivering world-class specialty care through its Levine Cancer Institute, Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, Neurosciences Institute, Musculoskeletal Institute, and Levine Children’s Hospital being nationally ranked in seven different specialties. 

About Atrium Health:

Atrium Health is a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education, and compassionate patient care. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atrium Health is an integrated network not-for-profit healthcare system with over 70,000 teammates at nearly 40 hospitals and 900 care locations. With locations throughout the Carolinas as well as Georgia, Atrium Health is a leading-edge innovator in virtual care and mobile medicine. It provides top-ranked pediatric, cancer and heart care to patients, as well as specialized musculoskeletal programs and organ transplants. Ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in seven different specialties, it has also received the American Hospital Association’s Quest for Quality Prize. Its flagship hospital, Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center, is the region’s only Level I trauma center and is consistently rated among the nation’s best. With a commitment to every community it serves, Atrium Health seeks to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all. Last year alone, Atrium Health provided more than $2.07 billion in free and uncompensated care and other community benefits.

About Butterfly Network:

Founded by Dr. Jonathan Rothberg in 2011, Butterfly Network has created the world's first handheld, single-probe whole-body ultrasound system, Butterfly iQ, making ultrasound technology universally accessible and affordable. Butterfly Network's mission is to democratize healthcare for the 4.7 billion people around the world lacking access to medical imaging. Through their patented Ultrasound-On-Chip™ technology, Butterfly Network is paving the way for earlier detection and remote management of health conditions around the world.