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Point-of-care ultrasound augments physical examination learning by undergraduate medical students
  1. Chun Ka Wong1,
  2. JoJo Hai1,
  3. Kwong Yue Eric Chan1,
  4. Ka Chun Un1,
  5. Mi Zhou1,
  6. Duo Huang1,2,
  7. Yang Yang Cheng1,
  8. Wen Hua Li1,3,
  9. Li Xue Yin3,
  10. Wen Sheng Yue2,
  11. Hung Fat Tse1,
  12. Pauline Yeung1,
  13. Pok Siu Yip4,
  14. Vivian Kam Sheung Li5,
  15. Arren Chan5,
  16. Michelle Cheung5,
  17. Chi Wai Cheung5,
  18. Chu Pak Lau1,
  19. Chung Wah Siu1
  1. 1 Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
  2. 2 Affiliated Hospital of North Sichuan Medical College and Medical Imaging Key Laboratory, Nanchong, China
  3. 3 Department of Echocardiography, Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences and Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital, Chengdu, China
  4. 4 Department of Medicine, Tung Wah Hospital, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
  5. 5 Department of Radiology, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
  1. Correspondence to Chung-Wah Siu, Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China; cwdsiu{at} and Chu-Pak Lau, Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China; cplau{at}


Background Little is known about the impact of the provision of handheld point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) devices on physical examination skills of medical students.

Methods We describe an educational initiative that comprised a POCUS workshop followed by allocation of a POCUS device to medical students for use over the subsequent 8 weeks. They were encouraged to scan patients and correlate their physical examination findings. A mobile instant messaging group discussion platform was set to provide feedback from instructors. Physical examination skills were assessed by means of clinical examination.

Results 210 final-year medical students from the University of Hong Kong participated in the programme. 46.3% completed the end of programme electronic survey: 74.6% enjoyed using the POCUS device, 50.0% found POCUS useful to validate physical examination findings and 47.7% agreed that POCUS increased their confidence with physical examination. 93.9% agreed that the programme should be incorporated into the medical curriculum and 81.9% would prefer keeping the device for longer time from 16 weeks (45.6%) to over 49 weeks (35.3%). Medical students who participated in the POCUS programme had a higher mean score for abdominal examination compared with those from the previous academic year with no POCUS programme (3.65±0.52 vs 3.21±0.80, p=0.014), but there was no statistically significant difference in their mean score for cardiovascular examination (3.62±0.64 vs 3.36±0.93, p=0.203).

Conclusion The POCUS programme that included provision of a personal handheld POCUS device improved students’ attitude, confidence and ability to perform a physical examination.

  • Cardiology
  • Heart failure
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Coronary intervention
  • Ischaemic heart disease

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  • CWS and CPL are co-corresponding authors

  • Contributors CWC, CPL and CWS contributed to the conception and design of the study. CKW, JH, KYEC, KCU, MZ, DH, YYC, W-HL, LXY, WSY, HFT, PY, PSY, VKSL, AC, MC, CWC and CWS contributed to the acquisition of data. CKW and CWS performed data analysis and interpretation. HFT, CPL and CWS revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript to be published.

  • Funding The study was financially supported by a grant from the Sun Chieh Yeh Heart Foundation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No data are available.