Background: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) use continues to increase in many specialties, but lack of POCUS training is a known barrier among practicing physicians. Many physicians are obtaining POCUS training through postgraduate courses, but the impact of these courses on skill retention and frequency of POCUS use post-course is unknown. The purpose of this study was to assess the change in POCUS knowledge, skills, and frequency of use after 6-9 months of participating in a brief training course. Methods: Course participants’ POCUS knowledge and hands-on technical skills were tested pre-course using an online, 30-question knowledge test and a directly observed skills test, respectively. The same knowledge and skills tests were repeated immediately post-course and after 6-9 months using remote tele-ultrasound software. Course participants completed a survey on their POCUS use pre-course and after 6-9 months post-course. Results: There were 127 providers who completed the POCUS training course from October 2016 to November 2017. Knowledge test scores increased from a median of 60% to 90% immediately post-course followed by a slight decrease to 87% after 8 months post-course. Median skills test scores for 4 common POCUS applications (heart, lung, abdomen, vascular access) increased 36-74 points from pre-course to immediately post-course with a 2–7-point decrease after 8 months. Providers reported more frequent POCUS use post-course, which suggests application of their POCUS knowledge and skills in clinical practice. More frequent use of cardiac POCUS applications was associated with significantly greater retention of cardiac skills at 8 months. Conclusions: Practicing physicians can retain POCUS knowledge and hands-on skills 8 months after participating in a 2.5-day POCUS training course, regardless of frequency of POCUS use post-course.
- Point of care
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