Point-of-care ultrasounds are becoming more and more common in the medical field. These small, portable ultrasound systems are being used in practically every type of medical facility, including the physician’s office, emergency rooms, the gynecologist’s office, and even in operating rooms. Many medical professionals believe that point-of-care ultrasounds play a vital role in serving their patients.
Brown University’s Chair of the Department of Imaging, John Cronan, MD, FACR, notes that point-of-care ultrasounds are being used by many medical professionals, but unfortunately the majority of them do not understand the ultrasound systems properly. This is because there is lack of well-developed training available to those in the medical field. John Pellerito, MD from Manhasset’s North Shore University Hospital, points out that designing an appropriate ultrasound training curriculum can be quite difficult, due to the lack of previously-developed training modules, documentation, and standards. He believes that medical students should also receive ultrasound training because it would help to reinforce teachings in anatomy and physiology, as well as improve patient treatment.
Many medical professionals believe that radiologists play a vital role in developing point-of-care ultrasound training. Unfortunately, up to this point, radiologists have not been leading the way to help in the development of proper ultrasound training for their fellow medical professionals. Some suspect that part of the reason may be that radiologists are simply protecting their jobs, and worry about the future of their profession. Others understand how busy radiologists are, which leaves very little time to help develop a new curriculum. One suggestion could be the use of already-developed ultrasound technician curriculum as a guide to design appropriate training.
At a RSNA conference, Michael Blaivas, MD, former chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians ultrasound division, reached out to professional radiologists by noting that they are the imaging experts. He said about radiologists, “It’s better to be seen as proponents of an application, guide it, and help with it, especially an application that is seen as critical at the bedside.” He also suggested that education is the one thing that medical doctors and radiologists can agree needs improvement. The hope is that radiologists will offer their expertise to help create a vital curriculum that will enhance the use of point-of-care ultrasounds in medical facilities across the country.