The use of ultrasound in the acute care specialties of anesthesiology, intensive care, emergency medicine, and surgery has evolved from discrete, office-based echocardiographic examinations to the real-time or point-of-care clinical assessment and interventions. "Goal-focused" transthoracic echocardiography is a limited scope (as compared with comprehensive examination) echocardiographic examination, performed by the treating clinician in acute care medical practice, and is aimed at addressing specific clinical concerns. In the future, the practice of surface ultrasound will be integrated into the everyday clinical practice as ultrasound-assisted examination and ultrasound-guided procedures. This evolution should start at the medical student level and be reinforced throughout specialist training. The key to making ultrasound available to every physician is through education programs designed to facilitate uptake, rather than to prevent access to this technology and education by specialist craft groups. There is evidence that diagnosis is improved with ultrasound examination, yet data showing change in management and improvement in patient outcome are few and an important area for future research.