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The main objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of emergency department (ED) point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) for rib fracture diagnosis in patients with minor thoracic injury (mTI). Secondary objectives were to 1) evaluate patients’ pain during the PoCUS procedure, 2) identify the limitations of the use of PoCUS technique, and 3) compare the diagnosis obtained with PoCUS to radiography results.
Adult patients who presented with clinical suspicion of rib fractures after mTI were included. All patients underwent PoCUS performed by emergency physicians (EPs) prior to a rib view X-ray. A visual analogue scale (VAS) ranging from 0 to 100 was used to ascertain feasibility, patients’ pain and clinicians’ degree of certitude. Feasibility was defined as a score of more than 50 on the VAS. We documented the radiologists’ interpretation of rib view X-ray. Radiologists were blinded to the PoCUS results.
Ninety-six patients were included. A majority (65%) of EPs concluded that the PoCUS technique to diagnose rib fracture was feasible (VAS score > 50). Median score for feasibility was 63. Median score was 31 (Interquartile range [IQR] 5–57) for patients’ pain related to the PoCUS. The main limiting factor of the PoCUS technique was pain during patient examination (15%).
PoCUS examination appears to be a feasible technique for a rib fracture diagnosis in the ED.
We sought to conduct a major objective of the CAEP Academic Section, an environmental scan of the academic emergency medicine programs across the 17 Canadian medical schools.
We developed an 84-question questionnaire, which was distributed to academic heads. The responses were validated by phone by the lead author to ensure that the questions were answered completely and consistently. Details of pediatric emergency medicine units were excluded from the scan.
At eight of 17 universities, emergency medicine has full departmental status and at two it has no official academic status. Canadian academic emergency medicine is practiced at 46 major teaching hospitals and 13 specialized pediatric hospitals. Another 69 Canadian hospital EDs regularly take clinical clerks and emergency medicine residents. There are 31 full professors of emergency medicine in Canada. Teaching programs are strong with clerkships offered at 16/17 universities, CCFP(EM) programs at 17/17, and RCPSC residency programs at 14/17. Fourteen sites have at least one physician with a Master’s degree in education. There are 55 clinical researchers with salary support at 13 universities. Sixteen sites have published peer-reviewed papers in the past five years, ranging from four to 235 per site. Annual budgets range from $200,000 to $5,900,000.
This comprehensive review of academic activities in emergency medicine across Canada identifies areas of strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. CAEP and the Academic Section hope we can ultimately improve ED patient care by sharing best academic practices and becoming better teachers, educators, and researchers.
To describe the current state of academic emergency medicine (EM) funding in Canada and develop recommendations to grow and establish sustainable funding.
A panel of eight leaders from different EM academic units was assembled. Using mixed methods (including a literature review, sharing of professional experiences, a survey of current EM academic heads, and data previously collected from an environmental scan), 10 recommendations were drafted and presented at an academic symposium. Attendee feedback was incorporated, and the second set of draft recommendations was further distributed to the Canadian Association Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Academic Section for additional comments before being finalized.
Recommendations were developed around the funding challenges identified and solutions developed by academic EM university-based units across Canada. A strategic plan was seen as integral to achieving strong funding of an EM unit, especially when it aligned with departmental and institutional priorities. A business plan, although occasionally overlooked, was deemed an important component for planning and sustaining the academic mission. A number of recommendations surrounding philanthropy consisted of creating partnerships with existing foundations and engaging multiple stakeholders and communities. Synergy between academic and clinical EM departments was also viewed as an opportunity to ensure integration of common missions. Education and networking for current and future leaders were also viewed as invaluable to ensure that opportunities are optimized through strong leadership development and shared experiences to further the EM academic missions across the country.
These recommendations were designed to improve the financial circumstances for many Canadian EM units. There is a considerable wealth of resources that can contribute to financial stability for an academic unit, and an annual networking meeting and continuing education on these issues will facilitate more rapid implementation of these recommendations.