POCUS stands for Point of Care Ultrasound. It refers to the use of portable ultrasound machines at a patient’s bedside or point of care to help diagnose and manage medical conditions. POCUS is often used in emergency and critical care settings, but it is also used in other areas of medicine, such as cardiology, obstetrics, and primary care.
POCUS is a valuable diagnostic tool because it allows physicians and nurses to promptly and non-invasively visualize internal structures and organs in real-time, which can help guide diagnosis and fundamental treatment decisions. It is often used to assess cardiac function, detect free fluid in the abdominal and thorax and to detect abnormalities of the abdomen and pelvis, and evaluate lung function, among other applications. It is among the courses that Hospital Procedures Consultants offers.
POCUS in Internal Medicine
There has been rapid advancement and integration of ultrasound technology in the field of medicine. The development of portable, handheld ultrasound devices has made it easier for clinicians to use ultrasound at the point of care, which means they can quickly assess and diagnose patients without having to transfer them to a separate imaging department.
Despite the widespread use of ultrasound in various medical specialties, its use in internal medicine is still limited. This is a missed opportunity as internal medicine physicians are often the first point of contact for patients with a wide range of medical problems. According to a 2022 article by Devyani Ramgobin et al., having access to POCUS can help clinicians make more accurate diagnoses and improve patient outcomes.
While some medical schools have incorporated POCUS training into their curriculum, many have yet to do so. There is still a lack of standardized training and certification programs for POCUS in internal medicine which can benefit physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
The aforementioned article discusses the potential difficulties in implementing POCUS in medical education and practice. The author notes that while POCUS has many benefits, there are also several challenges that need to be overcome if it is to be fully integrated into internal medicine training and practice.
- One of the primary challenges is the need for specialized training and expertise in using POCUS. Not all physicians have experience with ultrasound technology, and learning to use POCUS effectively requires a considerable amount of time, resources, and training.
- There are also concerns about the accuracy and reliability of POCUS when used by physicians who have not received adequate training. HPC offers courses on the POCUS technique for sound conceptual and hands-on learning.
- Another challenge is the cost of POCUS equipment and its maintenance. High-quality ultrasound setups can be expensive, and ongoing maintenance and calibration are necessary to ensure that the equipment remains accurate and reliable.
- There are also challenges related to incorporating POCUS into existing workflows and practice guidelines. Physicians may need to adjust their existing practices and protocols to incorporate POCUS effectively. There may also be resistance to change from some members of the medical community.
Despite all these challenges, the author argues that the benefits of POCUS are significant enough to justify the efforts and investment required to implement it effectively in medical education and practice.
Suggestion for POCUS Training
A teaching program that trains internal medicine, family medicine and emergency medicine residents has the responsibility of regularly assessing their skills. However, this can be challenging because most of the faculty aren’t experts in POCUS. So, some researchers have come up with a framework that helps assess trainees’ POCUS competency. It involves assessing their knowledge, the ability to apply that knowledge, as well as technical skills.
Some studies have shown that short training courses, which combine didactics with hands-on learning, can significantly improve internal medicine, family medicine and emergency medicine faculty’s ability to obtain and interpret ultrasound data. This exposure can also change their attitudes toward the use of POCUS.
Charles M. LoPresti stresses that legal support and guidance from major medical organizations are equally crucial in developing systematic POCUS training. He also notes that schools should adequately teach students about ultrasound so that they’re better equipped to continue their lessons on POCUS during residency programs.
Effective Learning with HPC
At Hospital Procedures Consultants, we’re dedicated to teaching our students how to conduct POCUS and invasive bedside procedures in the safest and most effective ways possible. We value the importance of didactic learning which is why we offer more than 19 online modules.
Because we provide access to remote learning, program participants can check out the indications, contraindications, techniques, and complications from wherever they are whether they’re at home or during a less busy shift at work.
Our live courses are designed to help students master these skills through simulation. We want to give our trainees as much hands-on practice as possible so that they feel confident when they’re performing these procedures in real-world settings.
The Latest Methods for Teaching
When it comes to POCUS training, scanning live models can be extremely helpful in learning about probe position, handling, and how the probe interacts with the human body.
HPC uses an ultrasound simulator called Heart Works to help students learn about probe position and view optimization while allowing them to change the “patient’s” cardiac pathology with the click of a mouse.
It’s important to note that the old “see one, do one, teach one” method of training is outdated and even dangerous. As technology evolves and new evidence emerges, we must constantly rethink how we train to optimize the important work we’ve chosen to undertake.
This includes regularly updating our training methods and embracing new technologies to ensure that we’re providing the highest level of care to our patients.
Ramgobin, D. Gupta, V. Mittal, R. Su, L. Patel, M. Shaheen,N. Gupta, S. Jain, R. POCUS in Internal Medicine Curriculum: Quest for the Holy-Grail of Modern Medicine. Intern Med Persect. 2022; 12(5): 26- 42
Arichai, P. Delaney, M. Slamowitz, A. Rosario,R. Gordish-Dressman, H. Basu, S. Kern, J. Maxwell, A. Abo, A. Pediatric Residency Point-of-Care Ultrasound Training Needs Assessment and Educational Intervention. Cureus. 2022 Sep; 14(9)
McGinness, A. Lin-Martore, M. Addo, N. Shaahinfar, A. The unmet demand for point-of-care ultrasound among general pediatricians: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Med Educ. 2022; 22:7