Ultrasound is a diagnostic technique that collects the ultrasounds emitted by the probe, which pass through to a certain depth (depending on the frequency of the investigation) the part of the body we want to explore and takes advantage of the different propagation speed of the body tissues to transform the incoming signals into electrical impulses that are displayed on the screen in various shades of gray.
Ultrasound is an “accessible and cost-effective” technique, and health education in this sense means that patients benefit from better care by professionals—the multiple benefits of using ultrasound as a diagnostic technique. The technique also has advantages because it does not radiate. It is economical, repeatable, and mobile. It speeds up pathologies, avoids long waiting lists for patients, and increases patients’ trust and appreciation from healthcare professionals.
Point of care ultrasound refers to the practice of qualified medical professionals using ultrasound to diagnose an ailment wherever the patient is being treated, whether in a modern hospital, an ambulance, or a distant village. With the launch of the Sonosite 180 twenty years ago, physicians were able to treat patients at the point of care in a faster, more accurate, and non-invasive way, without relying on visits to the radiology department.
Point of care ultrasound is a broader term that encompasses many situations in which portable ultrasound equipment can be used. For example, images can be obtained with the portable ultrasound machine while the patient is in the ambulance on the way to the ER. Or a patient may be scanned in the trauma department after passing through the hospital emergency room. Therefore, POCUS indicates that it is possible to take a portable ultrasound scanner wherever the patient is.
Point of care ultrasound is performed by the attending clinician who knows the patient’s symptoms and signs, allowing rapid real-time dynamic imaging integrated into the scan and allows an approximation of the diagnosis. In addition, the development of portable and ultra-portable equipment has favored the spread of its use to multiple specialties, in very diverse situations, and for various purposes (diagnosis, procedures, and screening).
The importance of ultrasound integrated into the clinical examination cannot be overlooked as a cost-efficient tool that allows, among other things, limiting the differential diagnosis, ostensibly improving the clinical decision-making process, rationalizing treatment, and directing the performance of other complementary examinations.
There are numerous applications of ultrasound in the healthcare practice at the point of patient care. It is a technique that can quickly identify abnormalities that are not evident in the traditional clinical examination. The general practitioner asks a specific clinical question and makes a decision, and in answering these questions, integrates ultrasound into the examination (ultrasound-assisted clinical examination). The integration of ultrasound-assisted tests represents an unstoppable change in healthcare practice that is already beginning to become generalized and will establish, with its routine use, new standards of quality inpatient care.
The evolution and generalization of this technique have meant that different specialties have begun to use it independently, so it has become widespread to find a point of care ultrasound course. Ultrasound is a technique that requires a lot of study and point of care ultrasound course, involvement, common sense, and the ability to improve day by day.