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Episode 4: Portable Ultrasound Innovation with Audrey Howell

Revolutionizing medical imaging with accessible, affordable, and portable ultrasound devices.

In this episode, we hear from Audrey Howell, the Vice President of Product at Butterfly Network (BFLY). Butterfly Network is revolutionizing the field of medical imaging by making point-of-care ultrasound devices more accessible and affordable through massive technical breakthroughs. Audrey has a diverse background in product development, having worked at Palantir Technologies and as a biomedical researcher at Stanford and Duke universities.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn about the challenges required to innovate at a public medical device company building portable ultrasound systems that are both affordable and highly effective.

  • Discover how Butterfly Network's silicon chip technology is replacing traditional piezo crystals, enabling a single probe to generate multiple types of ultrasound waves.

  • Hear about Butterfly’s tactics for respecting regulators while still moving fast and performing rapid experiments in controlled settings

  • Understand their approach to implementing AI and keeping the technology explainable in settings where mistakes are unacceptable

  • Learn why Butterfly maintains two parallel apps in the market with different user bases as a grounds for maturing new ideas

  • Understand the importance of making ultrasound technology accessible in various clinical settings, from emergency rooms to family medicine.

  • Find out how Butterfly Network's software simplifies the use of ultrasound devices, reducing the training burden on healthcare providers.

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In this episode, we cover:

  • Introduction (00:45)

  • The Importance of Portable Ultrasound (03:10)

  • Butterfly’s Core Innovation: Ultrasound on a Chip (06:03)

  • Reducing the Training Burden with Butterfly Network’s Software and Cloud Suite (08:45)

  • Managing Relationships with Highly Diverse Sets of Stakeholders (10:31)

  • Understanding Regulatory Challenges and New Thinking Modes for Collaboration (15:07)

  • Testing Product Hypotheses and Innovating in Heavily Regulated Spaces (20:24)

  • Setting Up Effective Clinical Studies (26:03)

  • Leveraging AI in Medical Imaging (28:19)

  • Balancing AI and User Experience with Educational AI tools like ScanLab and Explicable AI in Clinical Settings (30:17)

  • Exploring the Challenges of AI in Medical Devices and the Future of AI in Ultrasound (33:12)

  • Expanding the User Base through Educational Programs for Ultrasound (37:40)

  • Market Prioritization and Anatomical Focus Area Selection (42:05)

  • Pairing with Marketing for Success and Selling Direct to Doctors (50:18)

  • Looking Ahead for Butterfly Network (52:37)

  • Getting in Touch With Audrey and Butterfly Network (55:18)

You can connect with Audrey Howell through the following platforms:

You can connect with Adam through the following platforms:

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Emergent: Building the Future
We sit down with the world’s best emerging technology product builders and unpack how they make a massive impact from nuts and bolts through strategy. Whether you’re starting out or scaling up, you will learn something fascinating about building for impactful missions in every episode.