Next, look for a machine that is user friendly. How can you tell if it will be easier to use? Look at the keyboard. Are the buttons, knobs, or toggles clearly labeled as to the function they control? With some machines, each button, knob, or toggle may have multiple functions. Ask to see the owner’s manual. If there is one booklet, the machine is probably user friendly. If there are 3 or 5 separate booklets, it is a very complicated machine. In my opinion, the complicated, “big box” ultrasound machine is capable of making multiple adjustments to give the absolute best quality image, but the operator must know and use all of the available button, knobs, and toggles to get that image. This type of machine may cost $80,000 to $350,000 or more and is a necessity for a radiologist or cardiologist. It is perfectly acceptable if this is the kind of machine you want. In my opinion, this is more ultrasound machine than a general practitioner needs. In my opinion, a general practitioner needs a machine that is user friendly and can be quickly learned and put to use in the practice. In my experience, when machines or procedures are difficult or tedious, most people will not use the machine or do the procedures. Take the time (2-3 days) to study the owner’s manual and learn how to use the machine you buy.
Fourth, what kind of training is available to you? An ultrasound machine is worthless if you do not know how to use it. Some ultrasound sales companies include training in the cost of the machine. It is not free. You are paying for it whether you use it or not. You will probably have to pay for your own travel and lodging to get to the training. You may consider separating the cost of training from the cast of the machine, especially if you are financing the cost of the machine. Some ultrasound companies offer training for a fee.