Comparison of In-Person Versus Tele-Ultrasound Point-of-Care Ultrasound Training During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ultrasound Journal (09/06/21) Vol. 13, No. 39 Soni, Nilam J.; Boyd, Jeremy S.; Mints, Gregory; et al.

New research compared in-person point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) continuing medical education (CME) with tele-ultrasound POCUS CME training using a common curriculum. The retrospective observational study compared data from the most recent pre-pandemic in-person course with tele-ultrasound courses held during the COVID-19 pandemic. Included were focused lectures, image review sessions, and hands-on scanning sessions. Researchers evaluated the pre- and post-course knowledge test scores for 88 in-person and 52 tele-ultrasound course participants. At 78 percent, the mean pre-course scores of the tele-ultrasound learners exceeded those of in-person learners, at 71 percent; however, there was no significant difference in post-test scores, with rates of 89 percent and 87 percent, respectively. Both formats also met course objectives similarly based on CME course assessments. The tele-ultrasound format was rated highly by both learners and faculty for effectiveness of hands-on scanning sessions and course administration. Faculty were less satisfied with virtual lectures, learner engagement, image acquisition troubleshooting, and feedback. However, they agreed that learners completed the course with improved basic POCUS skills. Learners in both formats said they felt more confident about employing POCUS in patient care post-course. "By improving learners' access to expert faculty for mentored scanning, tele-ultrasound can help bridge the gap in POCUS training in the coming years," the authors conclude.

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