Ultrasound Education

In Support of the “Year of Ultrasound” and “Ultrasound First”

In Support of the “Year of Ultrasound” and “Ultrasound First”

Ask anyone involved in the practice of ultrasound about the efficacy and benefits of this unique technology and you are likely to hear an impassioned testimonial filled with examples and comparisons with other modalities. One phrase you will repeatedly hear is that ultrasound delivers the most “bang for the buck.”

S. Michelle Bierig and Anne Jones reviewed this advantage in “Accuracy and Cost Comparison of Ultrasound Versus Alternative Imaging Modalities, Including CT, MR, PET, and Angiography,” published in 2009 by the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Perhaps, at no time since ultrasound emerged onto the scene of medical diagnostics in the mid 1950’s, is this as relevant as it is today.

Several years ago, my daughter, who was a first year medical student at the time, commented that her classmates were essentially unaware of ultrasound. She was part of a group assigned a “case” for which the group was to arrive at a working diagnosis and could order tests to confirm or rule out. Her peers consistently selected CT or MR imaging tests. Having grown up surrounded by ultrasound professionals, she would ask, “Why don’t we get an ultrasound first?” Much to her surprise, her peers had no idea of why or when to order an ultrasound.

Kudos to the Society of Ultrasound in Medical Education (SUSME) and the AIUM for partnering to bring this message to the forefront. For those of you who may not be aware, the SUSME advocates and helps facilitate (through educational activities) integration of ultrasound into the medical school curriculum. This process will take time but it will make a difference.
—John B. Bennett, PhD, RVT, co-director, Program for Medical Ultrasound