POCUS training at IU School of Medicine

IU School of Medicine has the most extensive point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) program in the country. The school developed a POCUS ecosystem where students, residents, fellows, faculty and staff statewide work together to teach and learn from each other. This work began in 2018 and was super-charged with the purchase of 700 devices to support an expansion of POCUS in the school’s clinical education.

Fellow with Our Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) Machine

POCUS in Undergraduate Medical Education

IU School of Medicine students gain skills progressively throughout their four years of training:

  • Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2): Students learn about POCUS and how to use the technology to perform scans, setting the foundation of their POCUS skills. Early on, students learn how to identify anatomy on a POCUS image and consider how POCUS exams fit within a clinical context. They have many opportunities to practice in class, simulations, and POCUS labs.
  • Phase 2 (Year 3): POCUS curriculum extends throughout required clerkships, which allows students to increase their knowledge and skills in clinical settings.
  • Phase 3 (Year 4): In their final year, students gain additional experience by participating in SonoKombat, a gaming tournament of various POCUS skills and knowledge. They continue to gain clinical experience during 4th year clerkships. Electives are also available.

Undergraduate POCUS Curriculum

  Transition 1 Year 1 Year 2 Transition 2 Year 3 Year 4
Physics and Instrumentation  Orientation X        
Aorta   X X      
Cardiac   X X   Anesthesia Medicine Emergency Medicine
SonoKombat
Deep Vein Thrombosis           SonoKombat
Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST)     X   Surgery Emergency Medicine
SonoKombat
Heptobiliary     X     SonoKombat
Lung     X   Anesthesia
Family Medicine

Pregnancy         OB/GYN  
Procedural Guidance         Anesthesia SonoKombat
Renal   X X Case and hands-on    
Soft Tissue           SonoKombat

As students grow their competencies, various levels of assessment are implemented.  Assessment types could include questions incorporated into unit tests, pre-work quizzes and skills assessment. At the conclusion of their clinical clerkships, students are evaluated as a portion of the clinical performance exam that assesses multiple skills related to POCUS skill acquisition as well as Medical Knowledge quiz.


Summer Training Program

Since its inception in 2021, more than 100 rising second year medical students have developed their POCUS skills during the school’s summer training program. The two-week program allows students to become comfortable with POCUS and later serve as peer educators for students and faculty at training events. The students also become POCUS champions as the school continues to expand the use of POCUS in the educational program.

Under the guidance of faculty and senior sonography students, students learn how to use POCUS in a variety of clinical specialties and spend 16-24 hours practicing on standardized patients or simulators. They also receive POCUS devices that offer time to practice outside of the classroom. The program has been funded through the school’s United States Health Resources Administration PRIME grant and IU Health Values grants.

Sonokombat

Learning and practicing point of care ultrasound can be fun, especially during Sonokombat. Modeled after the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine’s SonoGames, IU’s Sonokombat is a series of games students play to practice their POCUS skills. 

POCUS in Graduate Medical Education

IU School of Medicine is one of only three schools with shared POCUS curriculum in its residency programs. Ten programs offer training for residents and fellows, including emergency medicine, internal medicine, family medicine, medicine-pediatrics, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, nephrology and critical care.

Training modules developed by IU School of Medicine POCUS experts are also available to every residency program. Each module includes a pre- and post-module knowledge assessment. Residency programs select pertinent modules to customize their training to meet their specialty’s needs.

Equipment and Resources

two students practices POCUS with a wand and small tablet

IU School of Medicine has a robust POCUS training program on all nine campuses. Nearly 1,050 POCUS devices and tablets, including mini tablets, are distributed statewide. Because POCUS is so portable, training can take place just about anywhere.

  • State of the art simulation phantoms that approximate real patients allow learners to experience a wide variety of pathological conditions.
  • In-person learning opportunities occur in hands-on scanning labs and simulation centers at all nine campuses, and are facilitated by POCUS expert physicians, sonographers, residents and students.
  • Sonographers are available to go to clinical settings, classrooms or conference rooms to provide education to busy faculty.

POCUS ECHO

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) connects local primary care teams with inter-disciplinary specialists to spread knowledge and amplify local capacity to provide best practice care for complex chronic health conditions. It is primarily focused on rural and traditionally underserved populations. This low-cost, high-impact intervention is achieved by leveraging technology to connect expert mentors and multiple local primary care providers in online video-conferencing teleECHO clinics.

During POCUS ECHO, a panel of experts who constitute the ECHO “hub team” facilitate brief didactics and de-identified patient cases presented by participants. Students and established providers receive support and recommendations from their peers while learning how to comprehensively apply POCUS skills.

The program is free and open to all providers, including physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, nurses, social workers, case managers, sonographers and patient navigators.

POCUS ECHO meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month from 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET via Zoom.

Register for POCUS ECHO