There’s so much buzz in the Emergency and Critical Care transport medicine world about the use of prehospital ultrasound technology.
This technology has become more affordable and more widely available. The clinicians in these areas of practice are thus ready to have this tool at their disposal. The biggest question I hear from active prehospital providers is, ‘why?’ Why do we need this in our tool bag? What is the cost/benefit ratio? These are truly valid questions and it was my first thought too. I support EMS Prehospital Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS). Here is why I think that there is a lot of use for this tool in the prehospital environment.
Why we should use POCUS
I cannot express how beneficial it will be to have ultrasound available during cardiac arrest. It will make a marked difference in telling if we’re making progress. Another reason to utilize POCUS technology is to help assess efficacy of treatment with our sepsis patients. Looking at IVC and SVC measurements are extremely helpful in seeing if our treatment modalities are helping our patients or if we need to change our approach. All of that aside, if we are striving to provide the least invasive care, regardless of geography, POCUS is the next big thing. It is, in my opinion, something that can have a big impact on the care our patients receive in the prehospital setting.
Cost has become a constant hurdle, but the cost will decrease and therefore POCUS equipment will become more affordable for services. Even as these systems become more affordable, some services are still light-years away from having this at their disposal. How we combat that is through outreach, education, and training. Perhaps the education and training personnel at each individual service need to be educated on this treatment themselves. Regardless of what is needed at your service, these people are here to direct anyone in their pursuit of ultrasound education. In the interim, please support the use of EMS POCUS. There are so many doors that we could open with the use of this device in the prehospital setting.
Simply put, effect change or get left behind.