By Dr. Arun Nagdev
Point-of-care ultrasound, or POCUS, empowers healthcare providers to more accurately and rapidly diagnose and treat patients, thereby improving overall patient care and advancing medical care.
The key to driving mass adoption of POCUS is putting imaging into the hands of more healthcare providers. Bedside imaging with POCUS can allow health systems to improve patient outcomes at scale. To seize this opportunity, we must equip caregivers with easy-to-use POCUS tools and hands-on training. As a result, we can bolster POCUS adoption and improve patient outcomes at the point of care.
Simple, intuitive POCUS solutions
POCUS adoption has been hindered for too long due to large machine sizes, high costs, and inefficient workflows. These barriers lead to fewer physicians using POCUS. To address these barriers, modern POCUS solutions must be user-friendly, affordable, and seamlessly integrated into existing workflows.
Let’s take Apple as an example. They design products that are easy to use so that every person not only can use them but can enjoy using them. The interface is simplified; the size of the iPhone means it can fit into most hands and the experience of using one is intuitive. We need POCUS tools that are simple and familiar; tools that rely on devices physicians already use, like tablets and smartphones, and that seamlessly connect with existing workflows. This will reduce the learning curve and encourage more physicians to embrace the technology.
Accessible, personalized education
POCUS education must also be simple and accessible. When we make education an enjoyable experience, caregivers are more likely to pick up on the technology faster and actually use it in practice.
Some healthcare providers need training to use the POCUS device and interpret images. Unfortunately, current POCUS education pathways, such as in-person workshops, don’t offer the personalized education that specifically target the learners' needs. Not only that, but workshops can be costly: POCUS users spend, on average, over $1,800 in ultrasound scanning courses.
Instead, health systems should consider individual or small group POCUS trainings that can help physicians learn faster and build confidence using the technology. In small group settings, caregivers can ask more questions and have more chances for hands-on training, thus allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of the benefits POCUS for patients and providers.
Developing POCUS champions