Using Kane's framework to build an assessment tool for undergraduate medical student's clinical competency with point of care ultrasound

BMC Med Educ. 2023 Jan 19;23(1):43. doi: 10.1186/s12909-023-04030-9.


Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasonography (POCUS) is a portable imaging technology used in clinical settings. There is a need for valid tools to assess clinical competency in POCUS in medical students. The primary aim of this study was to use Kane's framework to evaluate an interpretation-use argument (IUA) for an undergraduate POCUS assessment tool.

Methods: Participants from Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Calgary, and the University of Ottawa were recruited between 2014 and 2018. A total of 86 participants and seven expert raters were recruited. The participants performed abdominal, sub-xiphoid cardiac, and aorta POCUS scans on a volunteer patient after watching an instruction video. The participant-generated POCUS images were assessed by the raters using a checklist and a global rating scale. Kane's framework was used to determine validity evidence for the scoring inference. Fleiss' kappa was used to measure agreement between seven raters on five questions that reflected clinical competence. The descriptive comments collected from the raters were systematically coded and analyzed.

Results: The overall agreement between the seven raters on five questions on clinical competency ranged from fair to moderate (κ = 0.32 to 0.55). The themes from the qualitative data were poor image generation and interpretation (22%), items not applicable (20%), poor audio and video quality (20%), poor probe handling (10%), and participant did not verbalize findings (14%).

Conclusion: The POCUS assessment tool requires further modification and testing prior before it can be used for reliable undergraduate POCUS assessment.

Keywords: Assessment; Kane’s framework; Medical education; Point of care ultrasound.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Humans
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Students, Medical*
  • Ultrasonography / methods