Ultrasound in medical education: listening to the echoes of the past to shape a vision for the future

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2015 Oct;41(5):461-7. doi: 10.1007/s00068-015-0535-7. Epub 2015 May 5.


Purpose: Ultrasound in medical education has seen a tremendous growth over the last 10-20 years but ultrasound technology has been around for hundreds of years and sound has an even longer scientific history. The development of using sound and ultrasound to understand our body and our surroundings has been a rich part of human history. From the development of materials to produce piezoelectric conductors, ultrasound has been used and improved in many industries and medical specialties.

Methods: As diagnostic medical ultrasound has improved its resolution and become more portable, various specialties from radiology, cardiology, obstetrics and more recently emergency, critical care and proceduralists have found the added benefits of using ultrasound to safely help patients. The past advancements in technology have established the scaffold for the possibilities of diagnostic ultrasound's use in the present and future.

Results: A few medical educators have integrated ultrasound into medical school while a wealth of content exists online for learning ultrasound. Twenty-first century learners prefer blended learning where material can be reviewed online and personalize the education on their own time frame. This material combined with hands-on experience and mentorship can be used to develop learners' aptitude in ultrasound.

Conclusions: As educators embrace this ultrasound technology and integrate it throughout the medical education journey, collaboration across specialties will synthesize a clear path forward when needs and resources are paired with vision and a strategic plan.

Keywords: History; Medical education; Technology; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Technology / trends
  • Curriculum / trends
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Education, Medical / trends
  • Emergency Medicine / education
  • Emergency Medicine / trends
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Ultrasonics / education*
  • Ultrasonics / trends