BACKGROUND: Point-of-care ultrasound is becoming a ubiquitous diagnostic tool, and there has been increasing interest to teach novice practitioners . One of the challenges is the scarcity of qualified instructors, and with COVID-19, another challenge is the difficulty with social distancing between learners and educators . The purpose of our study was to determine if ultrasound-naïve operators can learn ultrasound techniques and develop the psychomotor skills to acquire ultrasound images after reviewing SonoSim® online modules .
METHODS: This was a prospective study evaluating first-year medical students . Medical students were asked to complete four SonoSim® online modules (aorta/IVC, cardiac, renal, and superficial). They were subsequently asked to perform ultrasound examinations on standardized patients utilizing the learned techniques/skills in the online modules . Emergency Ultrasound-trained physicians evaluated medical students' sonographic skills in image acquisition quality, image acquisition difficulty, and overall performance . Data are presented as means and percentages with standard deviation . All P values are based on 2-tailed tests of significance .
RESULTS: Total of 44 medical students participated in the study . All (100 %) students completed the hands-on skills evaluation with a median score of 83.7% (IQR 76.7-88.4 %). Thirty-three medical students completed all the online modules and quizzes with median score of 87.5% (IQR 83.8-91.3 %). There was a positive association between module quiz performance and the hands-on skills performance (R-squared = 0.45; p <0.001). There was no statistically significant association between module performance and hands-on performance for any of the four categories individually . In all four categories, the evaluators' observation of the medical students' difficulty obtaining views correlated with hands-on performance scores .
CONCLUSIONS: Our study findings suggest that ultrasound-naïve medical students can develop basic hands-on skills in image acquisition after reviewing online modules.
Index: Asynchronous learning, Medical student ultrasound education, Point-of-care ultrasound, Simulation, Ultrasound education