Journal of Osteopathic Medicine (09/20/22) Kern, Julia; Scarpulla, Megan; Finch, Charles; et al.
Researchers analyzed the clinical use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in acute settings through early training in medical school. The authors conducted a 10-question survey on POCUS use among board-certified acute care physicians with educational agreements at a university. The questions sought to evaluate POCUS use in terms of frequency, machine type, barriers/enablers, common ultrasound procedures, initial ultrasound training, confidence in performing POCUS/interpreting images, and perceived effect on patient care/outcomes. Of the 68 respondents, most (65) said they perform POCUS daily or weekly. In addition, 65 respondents agreed that POCUS enhances patient care, while 64 said the modality can improve patient outcomes. Most residency-trained respondents (83.9%) were confident in performing POCUS, and 80.6% expressed confidence in their ability to interpret images. About a third of the fellowship-trained respondents (33.3%) strongly disagreed in their performing/interpreting confidence. Two respondents recommended introducing POCUS in medical school as it "require(s) continued use and reinforcement to be proficient," and one said they wanted to have continuing medical education about POCUS. "We believe that early clinical integration and continued reinforcement of POCUS imaging and education in osteopathic medical school curricula may enhance ultrasound utilization in acute care settings, as indicated by the physician survey respondents in acute care settings," the researchers concluded. They also suggested the survey's results could be employed to compare data acquired from other clinical fields, which could help to recognize pathways for improving patient care in clinical practice.