Objective: To determine the current state of bedside emergency physician-performed ultrasonography in terms of prevalence, training, quality assurance, and reimbursement at emergency medicine residency programs.
Methods: The link to a 10-question Web-based survey was e-mailed to ultrasound/residency directors at 122 emergency medicine residency programs in the United States.
Results: The overall response rate was 84%. Ninety-two percent of programs reported 24-hour emergency physician-performed ultrasonography availability. Fifty-one percent of programs reported that a credentialing/privileging plan was in place at their hospital, and 71% of programs had a quality assurance/image review procedure in place. Emergency medicine specialty-specific guidelines of 150 ultrasonographic examinations and 40 hours of didactic instruction were met by 39% and 22% of residencies, respectively, although only 13.7% of programs were completing the 300 examinations recommended by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. Sixteen programs (16%) reported that they were currently billing for emergency physician-performed ultrasonography; of those not billing, 10 (12%) planned to bill within 1 year, and 32 (37%) planned to bill at some point in the future.
Conclusions: Performance and training in emergency physician-performed ultrasonography at academic medical centers continues to increase. The number of emergency medicine residency programs meeting specialty-specific guidelines has more than doubled in the last 4 years, but only a small number are meeting American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine guidelines. Although only 16% of programs reported that they were currently billing for emergency physician-performed ultrasonography, most had plans to bill in the future.