Philips launches smartphone plug-in ultrasound handheld with app in U.S.

Two advanced ultrasound transducers, app-based online portal and subscription platform now offered as part of comprehensive portable, connected digital solution--Courtesy of Philips

Ultrasound is going ultraportable. Royal Philips ($PHG) has launched its Lumify device in the U.S.; the hand-held ultrasound tool plugs into a smartphone and connects to an app for image management. To distribute the device, the conglomerate has opted for a $199 monthly subscription model, giving it an income stream in perpetuity while users gain an easy, complete ultrasound offering that includes two transducer, an app as well as online portal access.

Philips is hardly alone in its move toward the hand-held ultrasound; a slew of players including conglomerates and startups are working on their own offerings. In fact, earlier this week PE giant KKR backed hand-held ultrasound startup Signostics in a $35 million financing. But the conglomerate has a major, solid position in the imaging market that it surely will capitalize upon.

"In an increasingly connected world where the power of technology is at our fingertips, it's no longer enough to create an ultrasound product or service. At Philips, we create solutions holistically with the patient at the center," Randy Hamlin, Philips VP and business segment leader of Ultra Mobile, said in a statement.

"Lumify leverages advanced digital health technology to provide critical information to the right people at the right time, transforming how we approach care delivery and connecting the various touch points along the health continuum," he continued.

But Apple ($AAPL) devotees aren't in the loop; Lumify only works with Android smart devices. Once the Lumify App is downloaded from Google Play, users simply connect a transducer to a smart device via USB and launch the app to start ultrasound scanning. The app connects to the cloud, where data and images are also accessible via the Philips HealthSuite Digital Platform. The whole package is backed by a warranty and service agreement.

Philips expects Lumify will be useful across a whole range of specialties and settings including acute and emergency care, internal medicine, musculoskeletal (including orthopedics, sports medicine and podiatry), urgent care and office practice. The scanning app enables a number of types of ultrasound scans, including of the gall bladder, abdomen and lungs as well as OB-GYN, vascular, superficial, musculoskeletal and soft tissue structures.

"Lumify has the potential to provide on-demand, point-of-care diagnostics in a more connected environment," said Dr. Bret Nelson, associate professor of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

"We have been using the Philips Smart Device Ultrasound with our medical students. Leveraging a familiar device with portable diagnostic testing makes learning ultrasound easier for new users and more convenient for experienced imagers. I think that convenience and availability will increase the utility of this technology, improving patient care and efficiency," he concluded.

- here is the announcement