Current State of Point-of-care Ultrasound Usage in Canadian Emergency Departments

Cureus. 2019 Mar 13;11(3):e4246. doi: 10.7759/cureus.4246.


Background Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has many applications in emergency medicine, which have been proven to improve patient outcomes. Training programs and well-established guidelines for its use are available, but Canadian adoption rates and attitudes toward this technology have not been recently assessed. Objectives This study aimed to provide a national assessment of the current use of POCUS in Canadian emergency departments (ED) including patterns of use, attitudes towards its role, descriptors of training experience, as well as barriers to increased utilization. Methods An electronic survey was sent to physician members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. The survey included questions related to demographics, attitudes towards POCUS, POCUS utilization, and barriers to POCUS use. Responses were statistically analyzed to identify significant associations. Results Responses demonstrated a strong association between POCUS training and amount of POCUS usage. Neither hospital type nor community type was associated with the degree of POCUS usage. POCUS was most widely adopted for Canadian Point of Care Ultrasound Society (CPOCUS) core applications and has increased since the last national survey. The most commonly reported barrier to increased POCUS adoption was the lack of training. Most physicians have formal POCUS training in core applications, and approximately one third have advanced training. Conclusions POCUS training and utilization appear to have increased since the last national assessment. This provides a foundation for future POCUS research.

Keywords: emergency medicine; pocus; point of care ultrasound.