Physicians enjoined to get out ahead of POCUS

As internal medicine practitioners continue to increase their use of point-of-care ultrasound—aka POCUS—these physicians need to clarify how they intend to use the technology going forward.

Further, if POCUS is to help improve patient care across U.S. healthcare, provider organizations as well as residency directors need to develop programs to cover training, clinical use and quality assurance.

So state the authors of a review article published online Oct. 23 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Rachel Liu, MD, and colleagues at Yale School of Medicine run through the basics of using POCUS specifically for finding human fluids in internal-med and other nonradiology specialty settings.

They also flesh out ways to appropriately use the technology for imaging pleural and pericardial effusion, pulmonary edema and peritoneal fluid, as well as for guiding fluid removal.

“The concept of finding fluid using POCUS can be used as a building block for learning image acquisition techniques and developing interpretation accuracy,” Liu et al. write. “The spectrum of fluid detection spans a continuum from minor to emergent, and its appearance can be subtle. The implications of this apply to care in a wide range of settings, from family practice to hospitalist and subspecialty environments, and in critical care or emergency department arenas.”

Liu and colleagues note that learning and using POCUS effectively “requires time, equipment and interdisciplinary collaboration, but this investment can provide immense benefits.”

The JAMA Network has posted the article in full for free.