Point-of-Care Ultrasound Scanners: An Introduction
April 8, 2015 | Evaluations & Guidance
Diagnostic ultrasound scanners are medical imaging devices that use high-frequency sound waves to allow users to obtain information about patients’ anatomy and physiology. Point-of-care (POC) ultrasound imaging refers to the use of medical ultrasound by the treating physician—as opposed to referring the patient to an ultrasound specialist—to acquire anatomical and physiologic information at the bedside. Such exams are typically performed to answer a specific clinical question (e.g., Does the patient have a torn rotator cuff?).
The main benefit of POC ultrasound (also known as POC US, or POCUS) is that it allows physicians to quickly determine whether an abnormality is present so that they can then make patient management decisions. Because patients don’t need to be referred to imaging specialists, they don’t need to make an additional appointment for the imaging exam and wait for the diagnosis to be provided to their treating physician. The result is more time-efficient and effective patient care.