Original Research

The use of point-of-care ultrasound in Tshwane public and private sector emergency units

Nirvika Hurribunce, Vidya Lalloo, Benjamin V. Prozesky, Rulé Human, Detlef R. Prozesky, Maria M. Geyser, Andreas Engelbrecht
South African Family Practice | Vol 65, No 1 : Part 4| a5711 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v65i1.5711 | © 2023 Nirvika Hurribunce, Vidya Lalloo, Benjamin V. Prozesky, Rulé Human, Detlef R. Prozesky, Maria M. Geyser, Andreas Engelbrecht | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 January 2023 | Published: 05 September 2023

About the author(s)

Nirvika Hurribunce, Department of Family Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and Department of Family Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Kalafong Provincial Tertiary Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa
Vidya Lalloo, Department of Family Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa
Benjamin V. Prozesky, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada
Rulé Human, Department of Family Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and Department of Family Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Kalafong Provincial Tertiary Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa
Detlef R. Prozesky, Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
Maria M. Geyser, Department of Family Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and Department of Family Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Kalafong Provincial Tertiary Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa
Andreas Engelbrecht, Department of Family Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and Division of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is an essential skill in the practice of emergency medicine (EM), with benefit to patient care by improving diagnostic accuracy. Despite this, there exists little data evaluating the use of POCUS in South African emergency units (EUs.).

Methods: One hundred and seventeen doctors working in 12 public and private sector EUs in Tshwane were included. A questionnaire was used comprising of descriptive data regarding doctor demographics, levels of experience, and outcome data including POCUS frequency use, training level, indications for, and barriers to its use.

Results: Many participants were general practitioners working in EUs (58.1%) followed by EM specialists and EM registrars. Of these participants, 88% used POCUS. Seventy one percent received informal POCUS training only. The indications for POCUS use were similar for both public and private sector, with no significant differences in overall use. The only significant association to POCUS use was age (> 33.3 years) and number of years since qualification (> 6.9 years.) Lack of and/or access to training were the main reasons for not using POCUS (18.8%.) There were no significant differences in the barriers to the use of POCUS between the sectors.

Conclusion: Point-of-care ultrasound is used similarly in both public and private sector EUs in Tshwane. Lack of and/or access to POCUS training are the main barrier to its use.

Contribution: This study underlines the state of POCUS use in Tshwane and highlights the barriers to its use, thus allowing academic heads and hospital managers to address them.


Keywords

point-of-care ultrasound; POCUS; emergency unit (EU); barriers to POCUS; indications for POCUS

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