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Opinion: The use of point-of-care sonography in primary care: An ethical perspective

Shane D. Murphy
South African Family Practice | Vol 64, No 1 : Part 1| a5410 | DOI: | © 2022 Shane Darren Murphy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 September 2021 | Published: 11 January 2022

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Shane D. Murphy, Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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The use of point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) is fast becoming a global standard of care. World over, training programmes are embracing the use of PoCUS to improve patient care, reduce risks to patients and reduce the burden of unnecessary referrals and investigations. The South African setting is particularly amenable to the benefits of this diagnostic modality to improve healthcare delivery to rural and marginalised populations. However, as with any technological advancements, the use of PoCUS is also not immune to deleterious consequences and patient harm from overdependence and over-zealous uptake. Family physicians, as the champions of primary care, should take the lead to ensure the effective and proper use of PoCUS in rural and primary care settings through advocacy, training and accreditation of clinicians to safely harness the benefits of PoCUS and minimise harm.


point of care ultrasound; capacity-building; education; primary care; healthcare delivery


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