Ultrasound Journal (10/21/22) Vol. 14, No. 41 Nti, Benjamin K.; Phillips, Whitney; Sarmiento, Elisa; et al.
Researchers assessed the impact of a soft tissue point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) curriculum on POCUS usage, emergency department length of stays (ED LOS), and cost-effectiveness for pediatric ED visits. Fourteen fellowship-trained pediatric emergency faculty and eight pediatric emergency fellows received the POCUS curriculum intervention. Faculty had to complete one-hour didactic sessions, hands-on instruction supervised by a fellowship-trained POCUS specialist, four hours of continuing medical education, a competency evaluation and 25 quality-assured soft tissue POCUS examinations. The authors reviewed data on 119 patients aged 0-17 years presenting with superficial skin and soft tissue infections, including 38 pre- and 81 post-intervention. The number of POCUS examinations conducted before and after the curriculum intervention increased from 26 to 59, while mean total charges fell from $3,762 to $2,622. Patients with post-intervention POCUS had a much lower average charge for imaging than patients with radiology-performed ultrasound (RUS) in the pre- and post-intervention groups. The mean ED LOS fell from 282 minutes pre-intervention to 185 minutes post-intervention, and LOS shrank significantly among POCUS patients in the pre- and post-intervention cohorts versus RUS patients. "Our findings showed an improved utilization with an associated impact on efficiency of patient care and cost-effectiveness," the authors conclude.