Innovative POCUS company Butterfly Network and Access Afya recognised for ultrasound-telehealth model improving care in low-resource communities

Access Afya and Butterfly Network were recognised at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show as one of the winners of the World Bank Group – CES Global Tech Challenge award for their ultrasound-telehealth project which is making ultrasound more accessible and affordable in Kenya.

Through deploying Butterfly’s cutting-edge ultrasound technology and telemedicine platform, Access Afya (a primary healthcare social enterprise) have been able to scale up affordable care for pregnant women in low-income areas in and around Nairobi. The technology has been placed in informal settlements, serving around 10,000 patients per month through 15 clinics in four different counties.

Butterfly created the only transducer using semiconductor technology that can perform “whole-body imaging” with a single handheld probe. Connected to a mobile phone or tablet, it is powered by Butterfly’s proprietary Ultrasound-on-Chip technology and harnesses the advantages of AI to deliver advanced imaging that is easy to use, designed to improve patient outcomes and lower the cost of care. The Kenyan pilot programme is using Butterfly’s telehealth technology that allows trained practitioners to connect with colleagues at the bedside via an innovative digital platform.

“In the informal settlements of Kenya, access to medical imaging and experts who can review scans is simply not available and can be the difference between life or death. The innovations from Butterfly are changing this and transforming care so some mothers can now get scanned for the very first time,” said Melissa Menke, founder of Access Afya. “This project has already allowed us to save significant money. For the first time, I can use one sonographer to remotely connect with our network of 15 clinics, rather than have the sonographer physically move from clinic to clinic. Patient care in these areas of Kenya is changing every day as we create better outcomes by transforming the delivery of care.”

This initiative aligns with the World Bank Group’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which advocate for the use of ultrasound as an integral part of maternal and post-natal care, since it can reduce the risk of infant mortality and lead to better maternal health outcomes. Based on initial data, since Access Afya’s project in Kenya began in August 2020, there has been a 10x increase in availability of ultrasound, 107% increase in ultrasound usage, a 30% decrease in the cost of the ultrasound exams, and the sonographers have been able to detect several antenatal complications in patients during the telemedicine-based scanning. Additionally, Access Afya is now also offering complimentary ultrasounds for all those presenting with suspected COVID-19 respiratory symptoms to specifically look for the presence of pneumonia, leveraging the lung ultrasound capabilities of the Butterfly iQ.

Access Afya is part of Butterfly Network’s global health program, which aims to enable universal access to quality medical imaging. Learn more about Butterfly Network and Butterfly iQ+ here.

Picture: Butterfly Network and Access Afya recognized by the world bank group-CES Global Tech Challenge for work around solving for accessible, affordable healthcare through innovative telehealth model in Kenya. Image courtesy of Access Afya.

This news story has been sponsored by the companies concerned and does not represent the views or opinions of RAD Magazine.

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