Point-of-Care Ultrasound • POCUS

Challenges Abound for POCUS Learners

The challenges to learning and teaching ultrasound at the bedside are well-known and well-documented.  Throughout medicine, practitioners know that point-of-care ultrasound can greatly speed up and increase the accuracy with which patients are diagnosed and treated. 

However, learning and teaching POC ultrasound requires overcoming a lot of critical factors. You have to be able to overcome a lack of machines, a lack of ultrasound experts available at the right moment, a need for the right patients at the right time with the right pathology, the ability to create standardization of learning and repetition for learners... the list goes on. 

When learning pocus, bedside clinical ultrasound is complemented by simulated scanning environments like SonoSim.

Pros & Cons of Bedside Learning & Teaching

There is no better way to learn POCUS than having a qualified instructor take a learner with baseline ultrasound knowledge through a diligent ultrasound exam that helps inform medical decision-making. However, in reality, the lack of standardized access to pathology, qualified instructors, teaching moments, and access to ultrasound machines all combine to create massive obstacles to widespread POCUS competency. Combine with the lack of foundational ultrasound knowledge in learners, performance tracking, assessment, and feedback mechanisms and the barriers become a seemingly unsolvable puzzle.

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Learning to Acquire & Read Ultrasound Images

Challenges Abound for POCUS Learners

Mastering point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) can be an intimidating endeavor. This cutting-edge imaging method has gained popularity in clinical settings due to its numerous advantages over traditional methods. It is a non-invasive, portable solution that offers real-time imaging, allowing clinicians to interpret and quickly translate findings to patient care. However, there are several obstacles that care providers encounter when learning to perform ultrasound at the bedside in clinical practice.

One of the primary challenges lies in the variable & inconsistent exposure to patient pathology. Unlike radiologists who analyze countless scans daily, clinicians using POCUS may only come across a few cases each week. This scarcity can make it challenging to learn to acquire ultrasound images, identify abnormalities and develop a comprehensive understanding of what constitutes "normal" in ultrasound readings. 

A color doppler ultrasound scan of the abdomen, a key application for point-of-care ultrasound learners
A vascular scan showing a key application for POC ultrasound learners

Consistently correct interpretation of ultrasound images also proves to be a formidable challenge. The intricate nature of anatomy and the lack of standardized protocols contribute to the difficulty in reliably interpreting ultrasound images. Distinguishing between normal and abnormal structures can be particularly challenging, especially when dealing with critically-ill patients. And, understanding how to use and/or overcome imaging artifacts, such as shadowing or reverberation, is a critical skill that adds to the complexity of ultrasound acquisition & interpretation.

Point-of-care ultrasound skill acquisition is also often compromised by the limited availability of ultrasound experts to provide feedback.  The learning curve for ultrasound can be steep and protracted, and it may take some time before a novice is proficient enough to perform scans without supervision.

Finally, learning & teaching POCUS can be challenging because of time constraints that limit "teaching moments". Characterized by having an ultrasound machine, a patient with pathology, a learner, a qualified instructor, and the ability to engage in deliberate practice, teaching moments are rare. These teaching moments are critical and need to be repeated multiple times, and applied to each new ultrasound application a learner wishes to master.

Ultrasound scan with pathology that is best understood through both SonoSim and bedside ultrasound practice

Learning Point-of-Care Ultrasound

Aligning the Stars

Icon symbolizing how bedside ultrasound machines are not always readily available
1. Machines
The machine may not be readily available to the learner at a critical teaching moment.
Iconography showing the difficulty of having bedside ultrasound experts present for teaching moments
2. Experts
Getting enough ultrasound experts is often challenging and costly, plus availability at critical moments is near impossible.
Icon showing that pathology is limited in bedside ultrasound
3. Pathology
Learners are confined to what patients present with during the hours they have a probe available.
Icon showing the scarcity of teaching moments: when patient, pathology, expert, and machine line up
4. Teaching Moments
Clinical bedside scanning often takes place in a chaotic environment.  For the patient, pathology, expert, and machine to all line up to create a teaching moment is rare.
Icon depicting the importance of repetition when it comes to POCUS training
5. Repetition
The needed repetition to learn is often not possible.
Icon showing the difficulty of receiving enough funding for proper bedside ultrasound training resources
6. Funding
Adequate funding can be challenging to get.

The SonoSim ecosystem is here to maximize the effectiveness of your ultrasound training

How SonoSim Can Help

SonoSim complements bedside learning & accelerates the path to ultrasound competency.

SonoSim helps solve the puzzle of ultrasound competency by helping learners establish the baseline knowledge required to maximize the benefits of bedside clinical practice.  With our ecosystem of ultrasound learning & teaching tools, we can serve a critical role for programs of all sorts in standardizing access to pathology and facilitating subsequent ultrasound education, training, and performance tracking.

SonoSim was built to help healthcare practitioners, program administrators, instructors, faculty, and others wanting to learn POCUS, overcome all these challenges.  We do this through a proven methodology with an entire ecosystem of content, tools, and resources built up to make it the easiest way to learn & teach ultrasound. Using cloud- and laptop-based technology and advanced simulation capabilities, SonoSim provides self-paced content, tools, support, and resources to help overcome the barriers to ultrasound learning.

Click on the video below for a full overview of the SonoSim Ultrasound Learning & Teaching Ecosystem, or click on any one of the elements below for a more detailed overview of what is included.

Study Sonography principles & instrumentation

Case-based learning & reference tools advance training on-the-go

SonoSim LiveScan
Apply bedside ultrasound knowledge in a simulated environment with SonoSim LiveScan

Apply U/S knowledge in medical decision-making

Integrate POCUS or DMS training seamlessly into your program

Integrate ultrasound into curricula

Performance Tracker
Track learner or personal progress in your POCUS or diagnostic medical sonography training

Streamline performance tracking & image review

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Practice bedside ultrasound-guided procedures in a risk-free virtual environment

U/S-guided procedure training with real-time feedback

Learn the ins and out of bedside ultrasound through our 80+ cloud-based didactic courses

On-demand access to world-class ultrasound educators

Bedside Clinical Practice

SonoSim complements bedside learning & accelerates the path to ultrasound competency

Learner scans in the SonoSimulator to best prepare for their moments scanning real bedside ultrasound

Provide unlimited scanning of real patient pathology

Let's Talk Ultrasound

Get in touch and let's collaborate to solve your ultrasound competency puzzle.

Flexible Learning Pathways

A customizable ecosystem for everyone

Master your scanning of point-of-care ultrasound or DMS protocols in the SonoSimulator

Innovative ultrasound simulation environment. Master scanning skills with the SonoSimulator. Accessible anytime, anywhere.

A growing library of Challenge Cases enable learners to continually scan new pathologies & acquire new skills.

Utilize study tools to maximize your POCUS training or master your SPI exam
Integrate SonoSim into your ultrasound training program along with bedside scanning to maximize the effectiveness of your curriculum

Access scanning assignments to teach imaging protocols published by professional society guidelines, including AIUM, CAAHEP, ACEP, and more.

Explore the SonoSim Ecosystem

SonoSim Helps Overcome the Barriers to POCUS

The complete SonoSim ecosystem is made up of 7 elements. Learn how each one plays a crucial role in solving the ultrasound competency puzzle. 

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