Background: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis and management of conditions presenting to emergency departments across the world. It has also improved the success rate of invasive bedside procedures. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the current utilization of POCUS in a large tertiary care emergency department in the Middle East and to identify barriers to its utilization. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of emergency physicians' experience with ultrasound was conducted, which included examining the training, exposure, and barriers to use. This paper-based survey was completed by the participants in the presence of the authors of this study to improve compliance. Data were collected over a period of two months, from October to November 2014. Results: A total of 105 physicians participated in the survey. Of these participants, 56 had undergone prior training in ultrasonography by successfully completing courses approved by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in the United Kingdom, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Twenty-two physicians had completed other non-accredited ultrasound courses. An improvement in ultrasound procedural skills was reported by all those who completed training. A perceived lack of time in the emergency department was the main barrier to scanning patients. Other shortcomings included a deficiency of trained personnel for guidance, shortage of equipment, and a lack of experience and interest among physicians. Hands-on training was considered the preferred method among physicians for enhancing ultrasonography skills. Conclusions: The study identified an underutilization of POCUS by emergency physicians. Availability of dedicated time, equipment, supervision, and training may help to increase its usage.
- Emergency department
- Point-of-care ultrasonography