Patient perceptions of ultrasound educational scans in the emergency department

Katja Goldflam, Rebecca R. Goett, Resa E. Lewiss, Theodore C. Bania, Turandot Saul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Emergency medicine residents may perform bedside ultrasound (BUS) scans that are carried out solely for educational purposes. This may lead to confusion on the part of patients, as the implications in the context of their medical care may be unclear. Study Objectives We hypothesized that a scripted introduction would improve understanding of the objectives and limitations of educational BUS. Methods A perceptual survey was completed by a prospectively enrolled convenience sample of patients in two emergency departments. In phase 1, fifty patients completed the survey after their educational BUS. During phase 2, sonographers were provided with a one-paragraph scripted introduction to use and 50 additional patients were recruited. Group data were analyzed using chi-squared tests, Kruskal-Wallis, and t-test. Results There were no statistical differences in demographics between the two groups. The scripted introduction changed several survey responses by a statistically significant amount for questions including whether their clinician ordered the study, whether it was part of their medical care, and whether it would be part of their medical record (p < 0.01). The responses as to whether they would tell their doctor that they had an ultrasound done were not significantly changed by the script (p = 0.86). Conclusion This study demonstrates that the use of a scripted introduction regarding the purpose of educational BUS improved patient understanding of the objectives and limitations of such scans. There were still areas where the scripted introduction did not change patient's perception of the educational BUS scan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-838
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • bedside ultrasound
  • education
  • emergency medicine
  • patient perceptions
  • ultrasound


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