What is Point-of-Care Ultrasound (PoCUS?)

What is Point-of-Care Ultrasound (PoCUS?)

Point-of-care ultrasound refers to the practice of trained medical professionals using ultrasound to diagnose problems wherever a patient is being treated, whether that's in a modern hospital, an ambulance, or a remote village. PoCUS enables clinicians to treat patients faster, more accurately, and in a non-invasive way at the point of care, without relying on trips to the hospital or a radiologists office.

“Point-of-Care Ultrasound” is a broad term that encapsulates the many scenarios in which portable ultrasound machines can be used. For instance, a patient may be scanned using portable ultrasound while in an ambulance on the way to an emergency room. Or a patient may be scanned in the trauma bay after being delivered to the hospital emergency room. As such, “point-of-care ultrasound” indicates that portable ultrasound can be transported to wherever the patient is located.

About Rescue Inc.'s PoCUS Study

Our project consists of two stages:

  1. Physician directed program to educate our Paramedics in sonography on specific focused exam profiles, including:
    1. Trauma/eFast
    2. Cardiac
    3. Thoracic/Lung
  2. A twenty-four (24) month field demonstration period to allow for adequate technical skills development and for physician QA/QI of all scanned files and Paramedic field interpretations.

At the conclusion of the 24 month study, we anticipate the following results:

  1. Paramedics will be successfully trained to perform accurate limited PoCUS in the prehospital environment in a timely and efficient manner.
  2. The value of the technology will be effectively demonstrated by the enhancement in assessment capabilities and decisions regarding treatment.
  3. Efficacy of prohospital PoCUS will be shown through tracking patient outcomes.

What makes our study Unique?

A standard Google search brings up multiple PoCUS projects and implementations across the country.  We believe our project is unique for a number of reasons:

  1. Being privately funded through grants from The Emergency Medical Services Fund, Inc.
  2. Being conducted in coordination with a number of medical facilities including two world class teaching hospitals:
    1. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
    2. University of Vermont Medical Center
  3. Integral elements of our study include active physician oversight and an intense quality assurance process, in addition to intensive initial and ongoing education for all providers
    1. All field utilization of ultrasound will be reviewed by the medical director or designee on a monthly basis.
    2. Each study will be reviewed by ultrasound fellowship trained physicians within 24 hours
      1. Individual customized feedback will be given to the provider on each scan.
    3. To assure demonstration of proficiency; a verification of prehospital ultrasound education and competence shall be reviewed by the Vermont EMS District 13 medical advisor at any time requested.
    4. A QA/QI form will be completed by the accepting provider at the receiving facility to assess if the scan helped with patient assessment and potentially changed therapy.
  4. Patients will be tracked to determine whether outcomes have been improved due to prehospital ultrasound utilization and treatment/transport decisions.

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