Comparison of in-person versus virtual ultrasound instruction for pediatric residents

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BMC Medical Education


Purpose: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) instruction is prevalent in medical schools but not in pediatric residency programs, even though the majority of pediatric residents desire POCUS instruction. Virtual ultrasound instruction with affordable handheld ultrasound devices may help remedy this deficiency by allowing qualified instructors to circumvent geographic and financial limitations to reach this population. This study sought to determine if virtual ultrasound instruction is an effective alternative to traditional in-person instruction in a cohort of pediatric residents for the extended Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (eFAST) exam. Methods: Pediatric residents were randomized to receive either in-person or virtual instruction to learn the eFAST exam using a Sonosite Edge (Sonosite, Inc., Bothell, WA) or Butterfly iQ (Butterfly Network, Inc., Guilford, CT), respectively. After the instructional session, the participants completed a timed assessment in which all required images for the eFAST exam were obtained on the same anatomic model. The content and quality of the images were then scored by expert faculty. Results: There were no significant differences in assessment scores (65.8% and 61.8%, p = 0.349) and assessment duration (482.6 s and 432.6 s, p = 0.346) between pediatric residents who received in-person instruction and those who received virtual instruction. Conclusion: Virtual ultrasound instruction appears to be an effective alternative to traditional in-person instruction.

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