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This study sought to assess the effectiveness of ultrasound simulation as a component of high-fidelity trauma simulation, in training diagnostic capabilities of resident and attending physicians participating in simulated trauma scenarios.
Twelve residents and 20 attending physicians participated in 114 trauma simulations. Participants generated a ranked differential diagnosis list after a physical exam and subsequently after a simulated extended focused assessment with sonography for trauma (E-FAST) ultrasound scan. We compared reports to determine whether the addition of ultrasound improved diagnostic performance.
The primary diagnosis accuracy improved significantly with the addition of simulated ultrasound (p<0.0001). Median diagnostic ranking scores also improved (p<0.0001). Further, participants reported a higher confidence in their diagnoses (p<0.0001) and narrowed their differential diagnosis list (p<0.0001).
We demonstrated that a low-cost ultrasound simulator can be successfully integrated into trauma simulations, resulting in an associated improvement in measures of diagnostic accuracy, confidence, and precision for participating resident and attending physicians.
Goal-directed point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols have been shown to improve the diagnostic accuracy of the initial clinical assessment of the critically ill patient. The diagnostic impact of the Abdominal and Cardiac Evaluation with Sonography in Shock (ACES) protocol was assessed in simulated emergency medical scenarios.
Following a focused PoCUS training program, the diagnostic accuracy, confidence, and precision of 12 medical learners participating in standardized scenarios were tested using high-fidelity clinical and ultrasound simulators. Participants were assessed during 72 simulated cardiorespiratory scenarios. Differential diagnoses were collected from participants before and after PoCUS in each scenario, and confidence surveys were completed. Data were analysed using R software.
Prior to PoCUS, 45 (62.5%) correct primary diagnoses were made compared with 64 (88.9%) following PoCUS (χ2=14, 1df, p=0.0002). PoCUS was also shown to increase participants’ confidence in their diagnoses. The mean confidence in diagnosis score pre-PoCUS was 52.2 (SD=14.7), whereas post-PoCUS it was 81.7 (SD=9.5). The estimated difference in means (−28.36) was significant (t=−7.71, p<0.0001). Using PoCUS, participants were further able to narrow their differential diagnoses. The median number of diagnoses for each patient pre-PoCUS was 3.5 (interquartile range [IQR]=3.8, 3.0) with a median of 2.3 (IQR=2.9,1.5) diagnoses post-PoCUS. The difference was significant (W=0, p<0.001).
This pilot study suggests that, in medical learners newly competent in PoCUS, the addition of an ACES PoCUS protocol to standard clinical assessment improves diagnostic accuracy, confidence, and precision in simulated cardiorespiratory scenarios. This is consistent with clinical studies and supports the use of ultrasound during medical simulation.
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