Can ultrasound novices develop image acquisition skills after reviewing online ultrasound modules?

TitleCan ultrasound novices develop image acquisition skills after reviewing online ultrasound modules?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSitu-LaCasse E, Acuña J, Huynh D, Amini R, Irving S, Samsel K, Patanwala AE, Biffar DE, Adhikari S
JournalBMC Med Educ
Date Published2021 Mar 20
ISSN Number1472-6920
KeywordsClinical Competence, COVID-19, Education, Distance, Education, Medical, Undergraduate, Female, Humans, Male, Point-of-Care Systems, Prospective Studies, SARS-CoV-2, Ultrasonography

BACKGROUND: Point-of-care ultrasound is becoming a ubiquitous diagnostic tool, and there has been increasing interest to teach novice practitioners. One of the challenges is the scarcity of qualified instructors, and with COVID-19, another challenge is the difficulty with social distancing between learners and educators. The purpose of our study was to determine if ultrasound-naïve operators can learn ultrasound techniques and develop the psychomotor skills to acquire ultrasound images after reviewing SonoSim® online modules.

METHODS: This was a prospective study evaluating first-year medical students. Medical students were asked to complete four SonoSim® online modules (aorta/IVC, cardiac, renal, and superficial). They were subsequently asked to perform ultrasound examinations on standardized patients utilizing the learned techniques/skills in the online modules. Emergency Ultrasound-trained physicians evaluated medical students' sonographic skills in image acquisition quality, image acquisition difficulty, and overall performance. Data are presented as means and percentages with standard deviation. All P values are based on 2-tailed tests of significance.

RESULTS: Total of 44 medical students participated in the study. All (100%) students completed the hands-on skills evaluation with a median score of 83.7% (IQR 76.7-88.4%). Thirty-three medical students completed all the online modules and quizzes with median score of 87.5% (IQR 83.8-91.3%). There was a positive association between module quiz performance and the hands-on skills performance (R-squared = 0.45; p < 0.001). There was no statistically significant association between module performance and hands-on performance for any of the four categories individually. In all four categories, the evaluators' observation of the medical students' difficulty obtaining views correlated with hands-on performance scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study findings suggest that ultrasound-naïve medical students can develop basic hands-on skills in image acquisition after reviewing online modules.

Alternate JournalBMC Med Educ
PubMed ID33743680
PubMed Central IDPMC7980807
Faculty Reference: 
Josie G. Acuña, MD
Srikar Adhikari, MD, MS, FACEP
Richard Amini, MD
Elaine Situ-LaCasse, MD