Germany funds portable ultrasound app research

2019 04 15 23 11 1614 Fetal Ultrasound 400

Researchers from Germany have received funding from the country's ministry of health to create an app that guides at-home ultrasound scans for pregnant patients. The app is part of a 2.5-year project to digitize maternal health in the country.

The project provides funding of 3.2 million euros ($3.5 million U.S.) to pay for a 500-person clinical trial with ob/gyn patients. The women will receive portable ultrasound probes, contraction monitors, and smartwatches or other smart devices to monitor their pregnancies. The researchers will develop a corresponding smartphone app to record, analyze, and send data to specialists.

Ideally, the app and accompanying tools will help address the doctor shortage in Germany. The country had more than 1,000 maternity departments in 1991, the researchers noted in a press release. Today there are only about 700.

"Our goal is not to replace personal contact to doctors and midwives and abandon expectant mothers to technology," stated Dr. Patrick Stelzl, deputy senior consultant for the project's medical aspects. "If we can reduce the time and effort required for routine examinations, we will then have more resources to deal intensively with complicated pregnancies."

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