Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ultrasound Education (Editorial)

The state of ultrasound education is pitiful.  I am an educator, and I have a right to whine because offices and hospitals are buying ultrasound machines, but not sending the health care professionals who operate the equipment to school to learn how to operate the machines.  We teachers need to make a living also!  Enough of that stuff.  I can pay the mortgage by seeing patients but my point is made.  Buy an ultrasound machine then pretend you know what you are looking at through all the gel?  Ultrasound manufacturers are recording great sales.  Many doctors offices are buying them and telling an employee to "see what you can see with the machine", and billing for it.  No wonder health care insurance premiums are going up like a volcano!  It does not help that this current administration is promoting WELFARE healthcare.  I am a registered sonographer, and I am worried that if we are cutting corners here, where else are we cutting corners in quality health care?  One day I will be old and in the hands of a health care professional.  I intend to ask that person of he or she is licensed or registered in that aspect of health care.

Anyone in the USA can purchase a gun in the USA unless they are a felon.  When you buy a gun do you automatically know how to use it responsibly?  NO.  You must take a gun safety course to learn to use it for hunting or self defense.  The same is true for an ultrasound machine.  You get a day of apps from the manufacturer, then you are on your own.  Apps specialists do not train you how to do a sonogram, they show you how to operate the equipment.  To learn how to use an ultrasound machine requires rigorous education and training accompanied by many patient encounters.  Too many physicians and imaging facilities think the ultrasound machine is like an EKG machine: put the electrodes on the chest and let the machine do the work.  I want you all to embrace ultrasound as a valid and useful tool in diagnostic medicine, but get some training on how to use the equipment!  Just my thoughts.  Have a great holiday weekend.
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