Philips Lumify Ultrasound Review
Author: Andrew Schleihauf DO
Disclosure: Philips did not pay us to provide this review and we have no relationship to disclose with the company.
Introduction. As a follow up to Dr. Rubin’s Butterfly review, we will also review the Lumify ultrasound by Philips. Cost remains a prohibitive factor for many new sports medicine physicians or physicians that are interested in learning musculoskeletal ultrasound. Recent fellowship graduates may either have an out of date ultrasound machine or may not have any ultrasound available for them to use. Administrators may not have a musculoskeletal or ultrasound background or education regarding billing and coding options available due to image guided injections. A potential rival to the Butterfly ultrasound is the Lumify ultrasound by Philips and has a comparable price.
Lumify was launched in 2015 and was one of the most versatile ultrasounds when it was introduced. It was approved by the FDA in October of 2015 and both the L12-4 (linear) and C5-2 (curvilinear) and allowed physicians to use the system for both emergent and non-emergent care. A new probe has been introduced, the S4-1 broadband sector array transducer that is used mainly for abdominal, cardiac and FAST exams.
The system consists of a Lumify transducer, which connects to the app via USB connection. There is a companion app available for Android devices and is free of charge. There is a list of compatible devices available that includes cell phones and tablets. Providers most commonly choose Samsung tablets such as the Galaxy Tab S3 or use their cell phone if they own a Samsung cell phone. Once the app is downloaded, the transducer is connected via USB-C to the Android device and the provider will be ready to scan.
Both the linear probe and curvilinear probe are pictured above and the connection cord for them is interchangeable. The linear probe has the following options: vascular, superficial, lung, MSK and soft tissue. Scanning between these is done by scrolling in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion. The curvilinear probes options include gallbladder, abdomen, lung or OB/GYN. The default setting is abdomen. Standard ultrasound gel is not included.
Using the Lumify is very simple. A ruler is located on the side of the screen in centimeters for measurement of depth. There is a snowflake either to the side or bottom of the screen depending on the orientation that allows annotation (labeling), measurement and the ability to save the image. You can adjust the settings to have it on either side of the screen. The depth and gain are also changed by scrolling up or down on the touch screen. Icons on the edge of the screen are labeled as “Fast Flow,” “Slow Flow,” “MMode” and “Save Loop.” The “Save Loop” button can be changed to make the loop saved up to ten seconds. There is also an arrow icon that allows one to make the ultrasound image full screen. Overall, the features are clearly labeled and it is very easy to to use.
Similar to the Butterfly, the Lumify has excellent mobility. A carrying case is included that easily fits up to a 10 inch tablet, two probes, a bottle of gel and leaves plenty of room for any cords that are needed. This makes it easy to bring this with you on the sidelines if needed and I personally had my ultrasound readily available on the sideline. The abdomen can be visualized very quickly with the curvilinear probe. The mobility is also helpful for a provider that moves in between offices. I have purchased gooseneck tablet stands to use at each office site that each cost 30 to 75$ on amazon and utilize them to hold the tablet while using the ultrasound. This makes it mobile and easy to move from room to room.
Image 3. Lumify on gooseneck tablet holder.
As far as image quality, I have not personally encountered any issues with visualization and have performed many limited and total diagnostic scans. The most superficial structures such as the carpal tunnel took some time to adjust after using a hockey stick probe in fellowship, but I am not comfortable with using the linear probe for these. There are many occurrences during clinic that a quick evaluation can help with diagnosis, provide visualization for a patient and allow explanation of your findings. One of the things easily shown with before and after pictures are effusions or cysts that are aspirated. It can also be used if you are unsure an effusion is present.
There are a few other features that make the Lumify provider friendly. One is a secure system called “Reacts” that allows securely sharing data and is HIPAA compliant. Each probe comes with a unique Reacts code that can be registered to an email. If another user has a Reacts account, you can call them on a mobile device or PC. A Reacts plan can be purchased for 84$ for a standard plan for a single user that can communicate with others that have Reacts account. Another plan called “Pro+” is available for 120$/year that allows up to 1,000 guests per organization. This would likely be more ideal for users involved with education. A potentially useful scenario would be to have ultrasound lessons with a live model in which many users can log on and watch the lesson remotely. There is also a messenger system that you can share your ultrasound images through and communicate with other providers.
More options that make the Lumify user friendly is the ability for sharing. Sharing is done securely via email, DICOM or a shared server. This provides options for sharing among providers and among others on your team such as your biller/coder. So far, we are still working on making the images available through our PACS radiology system for the hospital system.
A few pricing options exist. Each will depend on how long you purchase the Lumify subscription for. As expected, the longer the subscription, the lower the price per month. There is also an option to buy the Lumify probe for around 8,000$ and it is also now available on Amazon for $9,000 per probe. There was previously an option to pay the monthly fee for 5 years and then you would receive the probe at the end of the 5 years, but I am not sure if this is still available. The Butterfly is cheaper overall with a flat rate of $1,999 along with a subscription of 420$/year.
In summary, the Lumify offers an affordable option that provides great musculoskeletal images and is very easy to use. The mobility and versatility of the Lumify makes it easy to transport in between sites or to a sporting event. There are ways to communicate with your peers with the Reacts system that may be useful in an education setting and it also provides ways for securely storing and sharing images.