Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) has become an important diagnostic tool for hospital-based clinicians. This study assesses the role of POCUS at Pemberton Music Festival 2016 (Pemberton, British Columbia [BC], Canada), a remote mass gathering where physicians face limited resources, complex disposition decisions, and a dynamic clinical environment.
This study prospectively evaluated the impact of POCUS on patient diagnosis, management, and disposition based on the self-report of the study physicians. The authors hypothesized that having ultrasound available for use would aid in diagnostic and management decisions and would reduce the need to transfer patients off-site to other health care facilities, reducing impact on the acute health services in the host community.
A handheld ultrasound was available for use by physicians in the main medical tent. All participating physicians self-reported their training and comfort using POCUS. After each POCUS scan, physicians completed a survey and recorded the indication for use, scans performed, and impact on patient diagnosis, management, and disposition.
In total, POCUS was used on 28 of the 686 patients treated in the main medical tent; POCUS was reported to narrow the differential diagnosis in 64% of cases and altered the working diagnosis in 21% of cases. Its use changed the management plan in 39% of patients. Its use was reported to reduce the burden on broader health care resource utilization in 46% of cases and prevented ambulance transport off-site in 32% of cases (nine cases in total). This corresponded to an absolute risk reduction of 1.3% for the percentage of patients transferred to hospital (PPTH; relative risk reduction of 53%).
Physicians reported that POCUS improved the diagnosis, management, and disposition of select patients at a remote, multi-day music festival. Also, POCUS reduced ambulance transfers off-site and reduced the perceived burden on broader health care utilization.
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