An Asynchronous Curriculum for Teaching Practical Interpretation Skills of Clinical Images to Residents in Emergency Medicine

J Emerg Med. 2020 Feb;58(2):299-304. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2019.11.046. Epub 2020 Mar 25.


Background: Interpretation of radiologic images is a critical skill for resident physicians in emergency medicine (EM), however, few training programs offer formal training in this realm. Time and money also need to be considered when adding to the curriculum of trainees.

Objective: We sought to determine the utilization and benefit of an asynchronous curriculum in the interpretation of diagnostic imaging.

Methods: Radiologic images were obtained from emergency department patients and presented to the trainees on a weekly basis from April to December 2017; discussion questions regarding the images were posed, all via the online workplace platform Slack. Trainees were surveyed prior to and 8 months after initiation of the curriculum to ascertain their confidence with radiologic image interpretation and their use of Slack.

Results: Of the 36 potential resident physician participants in this study, 31 (86%) completed the pre-intervention survey and 28 (78%) completed the post-intervention survey. The curriculum was found to be beneficial to all respondents (100%) and increased their confidence with image interpretation from 2.93 ± 0.89 pre-intervention (5-point Likert scale) to 3.46 ± 0.83 post-intervention (p < 0.02). Seventy-five percent noted that they viewed the material "often" or "anytime new material was posted."

Conclusions: Use of an asynchronous curriculum in image interpretation increased the confidence of trainees and was well-utilized. The implications of this are far-reaching, given that a similar intervention could be undertaken for any topic in any specialty in medicine, and with no cost of money or didactic time.

Keywords: asynchronous learning; curriculum development; emergency medicine; graduate medical education; medical education.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum*
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Male