Clinical utilization of point-of-care ultrasound by junior emergency medicine residents

Wan-Ching Lien, Chih-Heng Chang, Kah-Meng Chong, Meng-Che Wu, Cheng-Yi Wu, Hsiu-Po Wang


Aim: Little is known regarding the actual utilization of point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) after training. This study aims to investigate the clinical utilization of PoCUS by first post-graduate year (PGY-1) residents after training.

Material and methods: This prospective study was conducted at the emergency department (ED). A PoCUS curriculum was implemented and the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) scores were obtained after training. The sonographic examinations performed by the residents were collected. The primary outcomes were the numbers, imaging quality, and accuracy of the sonographic examinations after the curriculum, compared with those before the curriculum.

Results: Two hundred and thirtynine residents participated with the median OSCE score of 4 (IQRs, 4-5) and 170 (71%) used PoCUS during clinical practice. The number that each resident performed increased [before vs. after, 0 (0-1) vs. 3 (0-5), p<0.0001], the image quality was better [before vs. after, 3 (2-3) vs. 3 (3), p<0.0001] and the accuracy improved (before vs. after, 117/129 vs. 730/772, p<0.0001) after the curriculum. The residents were categorized into 4 groups based on the utilization: group 1 performed PoCUS before and after the curriculum; group 2 performed only after the curriculum; group 3 performed only before the curriculum; the last did not use. No significant differences existed in the OSCE score between the 4 groups. Group 1 performed more examinations
with better image quality and groups 1 and 2 used ≥2 applications after the curriculum. However, nearly 30% of residents did not use PoCUS, and “chose other imaging priorities” (40/69, 58%) was the main feedback.

Conclusions: A PoCUS training had a positive impact on the clinical utilization by the novice residents. More than 70% of residents integrated PoCUS into clinical practice and used self-formatted US techniques. The OSCE scores could not predict further utilization.


point-of-care ultrasound; post-graduate year resident; clinical utilization



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