Background: Nearly half of the world lacks access to diagnostic imaging. Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) is a versatile and relatively affordable imaging modality that offers promise as a means of bridging the radiology gap and improving care in low resource settings.
Methods: We performed semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders at two diverse hospitals where POCUS implementation programs had recently been conducted: one in a rural private hospital in Haiti and the other in a public referral hospital in Malawi. Questions regarding the clinical utility of POCUS, as well as barriers and facilitators of its implementation, were asked of study participants. Using the Framework Method, analysis of interview transcripts was guided by the WHO ASSURED criteria for point of care diagnostics.
Results: Fifteen stakeholders with diverse roles in POCUS implementation were interviewed. Interviewees from both sites considered POCUS a valuable diagnostic tool that improved clinical decisions. They perceived barriers to adequate training as one of the most important remaining barriers to POCUS implementation.
Conclusions: In spite of the increasing affordability and portability of ultrasounds devices, there are still important barriers to the implementation of POCUS in resource-limited settings.
Keywords: implementation; point-of-care-ultrasound; ultrasound.