Ultrasound conducted by physicians at the bedside is a common practice of emergency medicine, critical care, and trauma, but it is still underutilized in many other areas of medicine. That's a scenario that a group of Stanford physicians is hoping to change.
Recognizing the increasing utility of ultrasound in all types of medicine, Stanford Medicine hosted the second annual UltraFest on October 18, a free, hands-on ultrasound training day exclusively for medical students, which drew 300 students from throughout California. Led and taught by more than 30 Stanford faculty from a variety of specialties, UltraFest allowed students to try ultrasound techniques in a number of different applications and take part in realistic simulation training sessions using high-fidelity mannequins.
"UltraFest is an event that allows medical students to come for free to learn about a tool that can enhance their education about anatomy, physiology and pathology and how it can affect patient care and diagnosis," says Laleh Gharahbaghian, MD, clinical associate professor of surgery in emergency medicine and co-director of UltraFest. "It's a peek into what the future of medicine is going to look like at the bedside, whether it's in an outpatient clinic or an inpatient setting."
"Physicians tend to go to other modalities such as CT scans and MRI first," says Viveta Lobo, MD, clinical instructor of surgery. "But, ultrasound is radiation-free, quicker, safer and more cost-effective," she adds.
"Ultrasound allows you to see what's happening in a patient in a dynamic process as it's going on over time, which is very different than many of the other imaging modalities we use," says Gharabhaghian. In five to ten years, she predicts every physician will have a bedside ultrasound in his or her pocket. While it won't replace the stethoscope it will be just as prevalent.