Evaluation of a new goal-directed training curriculum for point-of-care ultrasound in the emergency department: impact on physician self-confidence and ultrasound skills

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2019 Apr 8. doi: 10.1007/s00068-019-01126-0. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Developing countries need effective and efficient training curriculum for the point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in the emergency department (ED). We have developed a new goal-directed training curriculum focusing on critical POCUS procedures used in ED.

Methods: To evaluate the impact of the new POCUS curriculum on ED physicians' performance/self-confidence, we carried out a quasi-experimental trial at ED training center of Peking Union Medical College Hospital, in which we trained two groups of physicians using either traditional curriculum or the new goal-directed curriculum. We measured the confidence in performing Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma, thoracic, vascular, ultrasound-guided puncture, echocardiography and undifferentiated shock diagnostic ultrasound at baseline, training completion and 1 month after training. We also measured the performance skills at the time of training completion. The relative value of the new curriculum was evaluated by differences in the confidence and performance measurements, with control for baseline measurements and confounding characteristics in univariate analyses and multivariate linear regression models.

Results: After training, both groups of trainees reported significantly increased self-confidence in performing POCUS as compared with baseline. Trainees with the new curriculum had statistically significant higher self-confidence increase and performance scores (p < 0.05), e.g., increase in confidence for diagnosis of undifferentiated shock at training completion = 3.14 vs. 1.85, 1 month after training = 2.22 vs. 1.56, for new and traditional curriculum, respectively. The new curriculum also resulted in a higher number of shock POCUS done within 1 month after training: 1.73 vs. 0, and higher overall performance scores: 165 vs. 113. The findings were robust when controlling for imbalanced baseline characteristics in multivariate regression models.

Conclusion: We conclude that a goal-directed, intensive but brief ED POCUS curriculum significantly increases trainee self-confidence, performance, and promote trainees to perform more procedures.

Keywords: Education; Emergency medicine; Ultrasound.