Conclusion: Deliberate practice in POC echocardiograph interpretation is effective for improving performance in a wide range of learners. Further study is needed to define accuracy cutoffs for competency to help guide learning plans and program requirements and for application into a model for global POC echocardiography competence.
Background: Point-of-care (POC) ultrasound (POCUS) has become an essential tool in caring for critically ill patients in several specialties. Mastery in POCUS requires competency in image acquisition, image interpretation, and integration into clinical care. Deliberate practice is an effective method for performance improvement in many areas of medical education; however, it is not well described in the literature for POCUS training. Objective: To analyze differences in the effect of deliberate practice in POCUS image interpretation on performance improvement in groups with varying skill levels. Methods: We recruited attending physicians and trainees with varying degrees of expertise in POCUS to complete a 50-item educational instrument on the interpretation of right ventricle size and function. The instrument incorporated deliberate practice for the task of correctly identifying right ventricle size and function as either normal or abnormal. Pulmonary critical care trainees obtained and interpreted POCUS images of patients with diagnosed acute pulmonary embolism, which were compared with gold-standard, two-dimensional echocardiographic scans obtained by an expert technician and interpreted by a cardiologist board-certified in echocardiography. We mapped learners’ cumulative accuracy on a learning curve to assess their performance. In addition, we compared groups on the basis of prior experience with using POC echocardiography. Results: Seventy-nine of 81 participants completed the survey and examination and were included in the analysis. Of the participants, 69 (87.3%) were trainees. The overall cumulative accuracy for the group was 72.9%. All groups demonstrated improvement in accuracy with repetitive practice.
- deliberate practice
- learning curve
- point-of-care ultrasound
- right ventricle