Objectives: Ultrasound image interpretation and education relies on obtaining a high-quality ultrasound image; however, no literature exists to date attempting to define a high-quality ultrasound image. The purpose of this study was to design and perform a pilot reliability study of the Brightness Mode Quality Ultrasound Imaging Examination Technique (B-QUIET) method for ultrasound quality image assessment.
Methods: A single sonologist performed a Trinity hypotensive ultrasound protocol on 3 participants of varying body types. Each participant's ultrasound examination was repeated in 4 locations; static clinic location, mobile ambulance, airplane, and helicopter. Images were reviewed by a sonographer, radiologist, and emergency medicine physician using the B-QUIET method and underwent statistical analysis using generalizability theory for reliability of the assessments using the tool.
Results: The B-QUIET method showed high reliability of most subscale items. Approximately two-thirds of the reviewed images had complete inter-rater reliability on 90% of the items. There was relatively low inter-rater reliability for the Identification/ Orientation subscale items. The inter-rater reliability κ value was calculated as 0.676 overall for the method.
Conclusions: The need for a standardized method to evaluate the quality of an ultrasound image is well documented. The B-QUIET method represents the first attempt to quantify the sonographer component of ultrasound images. Further reliability and validation studies of this method will be needed; however, it represents a tool for standardized ultrasound interpretation, ultrasound training, and institutional quality assessment.