Assessment of a Novel Point-of-Care Ultrasound Curriculum's Effect on Competency Measures in Family Medicine Graduate Medical Education

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Abstract

Objectives

Point-of-care ultrasound has been shown to decrease the use of expensive diagnostic studies and improve quality outcome measures. Currently, there is a large desire for training in family medicine residencies, but very few programs have established curricula. We sought to develop a family medicine residency curriculum and evaluate it with tools we developed. We wanted our curriculum to be easy to adopt by other residency programs, even if they did not have many well-trained ultrasound faculty.

Methods

We developed a curriculum in the form of a 4-week rotation in a family medicine residency program. It consisted of self-study videos, hands-on training, and image review. We followed residents in postgraduate years 1 to 3 over a 12-month period. We developed tools, including a knowledge exam, to test image interpretation and clinical decision making, an observed structured clinical exam to assess scanning skills, and a survey to assess perceptions of point-of-care ultrasound in family medicine. The assessments were administered before and after each resident's rotation.

Results

Seventeen residents completed the rotation. The average knowledge test score improved significantly, from 62 to 84%. The average observed structured clinical exam scores also improved significantly, from 41 to 85%. The average perception survey scores improved slightly from 4.4 to 4.6.

Conclusions

We developed a point-of-care ultrasound curriculum for family medicine residency programs that improves measures of resident attitude, skills, and knowledge. This curriculum can be adopted by residency programs with few faculty members who are experienced in ultrasound.

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