In short, many of the safety issues that the Institute refers to in its report can be traced directly to the easy access to these extremely low-cost POCUS devices.
Moreover, there is a real need for training. While many hospitals and outpatient facilities understand POCUS and use it safely and effectively, there is some data that suggests more needs to be done.
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Many of the most common specialties that utilize POCUS regularly do an extremely good job at mandatory training in residency programs. These specialties include emergency medicine, anesthesiology, critical care and some musculoskeletal based specialties . In these programs residents learn not only how to use the technology but also what criteria to use in order to choose POCUS versus another diagnostic tool as well as proper documentation of procedures.
However, there are other clinicians such as primary care doctors and physician assistants who may not have credentialing criteria and guidelines while in training programs.
Clearly, there is a need for residency programs and health systems to make POCUS education a top priority. That said, healthcare providers should not overlook a valuable partner: POCUS manufacturers can also serve as a key resource for training and much more.
Partnering with accountable vendors
The ECRI Institute’s report raises several legitimate concerns. Let’s examine some of the specifics, and explore how an organization’s POCUS vendor can be an asset when it comes to establishing oversight of POCUS with best practices, policies and procedures.
Training and education
The Institute cites a lack of training and education. Providers should consider all of their options when it comes to adequate training and educational support.
Reputable POCUS vendors will offer training on their equipment, hands-on demonstrations, and troubleshooting of product issues. The best vendors will also stay in touch with providers and be sure to re-train anytime a new feature or software upgrade becomes available on their equipment.
In addition, top notch manufacturers offer online tools that allow users to learn and study—whenever and wherever is convenient for them.
Users log on and learn at the speed that works best for them to gain the confidence required to use POCUS in everyday practice while also branching out and becoming proficient in a variety of applications.
Online resources vary, but the best tools let users quickly search for specific POCUS applications including case studies, webinars, clinical images, videos and more—across a wide array of specialties. Many even include courses that allow users to rate their base knowledge and track progress with built-in evaluation benchmarks.