Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Point-of-care ultrasound augments physical examination learning by undergraduate medical students


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

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.