10-minute videos improve pediatric rads’ ultrasound skills on two far-flung continents

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In locales and cultures as far removed from one another as Ethiopia and Pennsylvania, trainee radiologists finely—and similarly—honed their technical skills in pediatric ultrasound after viewing brief web-based tutorials on image acquisition.

The parallel improvements, which included measurable boosts in confidence levels, were observed by the researchers who created the videos after videotaping renal bladder and right upper quadrant (RUQ) ultrasound exams of infant and child volunteers.

The aim of the project was to validate the teaching technique afforded by these types of videos.

Susan Back, MD, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Yocabel Gorfu, MD, of Black Lion Hospital at the University of Addis Ababa, and colleagues enrolled 10 fellows in Philly and eight residents in Addis Ababa.

Their report describing the work is running the September edition of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

The researchers invited the fellows to evaluate both the RUQ and the renal bladder learning modules. They had the residents evaluate the RUQ module only.

Before reviewing the RUQ module, the fellows had performed a median of four RUQ ultrasound exams, while the residents had performed a median of 400 RUQ ultrasound exams.

By way of assessing performance and progress, the team conducted pretest and posttest skill and confidence evaluations.

Their key results:

  • After the trainees viewed the learning module, the median skills test scores of the fellows increased from 20 to 37.5 (highest possible score, 45), and those of the residents increased from 38 to 40 (highest possible score, 40).
  • With a total possible score of 15, the median confidence score improved from 8 to 11 for fellows and from 13.5 to 14.5 for residents.
  • After the fellows viewed the renal bladder learning module, their median skills test scores increased from 20 to 37.5 (highest possible score, 40), and their median confidence score increased from 8.5 to 11 (highest possible score, 15).

In their discussion, the authors add that the trainees gave the video-learning program—which they’re calling “Ultrasound in Under 10 Minutes”—positive scores for reach, appeal and effectiveness.

The authors further cite previous research showing that practicing radiologists are taking to shortened—or “just-in-time”—learning opportunities.

Meanwhile, for millennial learners, video is a “highly desirable medium and lends itself well to microlearning, with free web-based educational content available” from such readily accessible sources as Apple’s iTunesU and Khan Academy, they note.

“The complete 10-module curriculum, which is available at the point of care during daily workflow, is a highly effective adjunct to pediatric ultrasound skills training in both the United States and the international pediatric radiology community,” the authors write. “We showed through testing that integration of these tutorials into a curriculum improves trainee confidence and technical skills in ultrasound examination and that the format may be transferable across a diverse array of training environments.”

The present study was part of an ongoing collaboration between the two institutions, one of the common denominators between which is co-author Kassa Darge, MD, PhD, an attending radiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who served an internship in Addis Ababa and who has presented to peers on the partnership.