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Evaluation of a survey for acute care programme directors on the utilisation of point-of-care ultrasound


Purpose Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is ultrasound brought to the patient’s bedside and performed in ‘real time’ by the healthcare provider. The utility of POCUS to facilitate management of the acutely ill patient has been demonstrated for multiple pathologies. However, the integration of ultrasonography and echocardiography training into residency curriculum varies across the acute care specialties.

Study design After an institutional review board approval, anaesthesiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, paediatrics and general surgery programme directors (PDs) were surveyed. The survey consisted of 11 questions evaluating the primary bedside assessment tool for common acute care situations, POCUS topics that the PDs were comfortable practising and topics that the PDs felt were useful for their specialty. Barriers to POCUS use, certification and documentation were also surveyed.

Results Overall, 270 PD surveys were completed. The preferred primary assessment tool for common acute care situations varied with specialty; emergency medicine PDs consistently responded that POCUS was the diagnostic modality of choice (p<0.0001). The majority of the PDs reported lack of educational opportunities as the primary barrier to learning POCUS (64%). Most PDs indicated that POCUS examinations should be documented (95.7%), and 39% reported that departmental certification would be sufficient.

Conclusions This study is the first to evaluate differences in the preferred initial bedside assessment tool between the acute care specialties. Although POCUS is a superior tool for evaluating acute pathologies, disconnect between education and utilisation remains. This study highlights the need to incorporate POCUS into the acute care specialty curriculum.

  • ultrasonography
  • medical education & training
  • echocardiography
  • general medicine (see internal medicine)
  • adult anaesthesia
  • adult surgery

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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