Why Is POCUS Important?
July 29, 2021
Medical professionals have relied on ultrasound technology since it first emerged back in the 1940s. Obviously, when you compare today’s medical technology and facilities to those of the 40s, you probably won’t recognize a whole lot. This is a testament to the human drive to innovate—and medical professionals’ innate urge to help their patients in the most timely and effective ways possible.
One of the most exciting innovations we’ve seen in medicine over the past 2 or 3 decades is point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) technology. If you’re familiar with this technology, but aren’t sure what, exactly, its benefits are, this blog is for you.
The easiest, most concise way to summarize the importance of POCUS in modern medicine is this:
POCUS is important because it offers compelling benefits for patients, doctors, and medical facilities.
Why Is POCUS Important for Patients?
POCUS makes it easier for patients to receive timely medical attention. Commonly, patients will make an appointment with a doctor, and if needed, that doctor might recommend an ultrasound to make a diagnosis. The problem is, in these cases, the patient then has to wait for their ultrasound. This is because an appointment needs to be scheduled depending on when the necessary equipment and personnel are available. Sometimes, the patient even has to go to a different location for their scan—so the patient simply doesn’t follow through. Instead, they feel discouraged and frustrated.
Does POCUS Improve Patient Outcomes?
POCUS enables ultrasounds to be run at the literal point of care—whether that’s a doctor’s office, emergency room, ambulance, or urgent care clinic. This means the patient’s condition can be figured out sooner, and appropriate treatments can begin sooner than they would if that patient had to wait an extra interval between seeing their doctor and having a diagnostic scan.
In addition to time, POCUS also helps save patients money. According to one study, patients who received point-of-care ultrasound scans benefited from:
- Shorter encounter times (42 minutes, vs. 92 minutes for conventional ultrasound).
- Lower costs (averaging around $121, vs. $339 for conventional ultrasound).
Why Is POCUS Important for Doctors and Other Medical Providers?
Doctors and other medical professionals enter the field out of an overwhelming and admirable drive to help their fellow humans live full and productive lives. Each new patient provides a unique problem-solving opportunity, and ultrasound technology is one of the greatest tools in their arsenal for diagnosing a variety of conditions.
Who Can Perform POCUS?
With POCUS, ultrasound technologists are no longer the only people who can perform scans. By contrast, point-of-care ultrasound scans can be performed and interpreted by a wider variety of qualifying (and trained) healthcare professionals, including:
- Medical students
- Nurses and nurse practitioners
- Physicians and physician assistants
Why Is POCUS Important for Hospitals and Other Medical Facilities?
Simply put, one benefit of POCUS is that it enables hospitals and other medical facilities—and their personnel—to provide better patient care with more timely, evidence-based medicine. Beyond the benefits to patients and medical professionals, discussed above, additional arguments for the importance of POCUS include its versatility, cost-effectiveness, and transformative impact on ultrasound workflows and documentation.
What Makes POCUS So Versatile?
One of the most exciting aspects of POCUS technology is that it makes ultrasound technology more readily available for doctors and their patients. Look no further than the introduction of point-of-care ultrasound in emergency medicine for an example of how POCUS is revolutionizing medicine in new ways. Urgent care clinics and other specialty providers can also make use of the technology. As POCUS is further developed, we can expect point-of-care ultrasound uses to continue growing.
How Much Does a Point-of-Care Ultrasound Cost?
When it comes to the cost effectiveness of ultrasound options, POCUS devices cost a fraction of what a conventional ultrasound machine costs. A new, stationary ultrasound machine can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $250,000, while many handheld POCUS devices can be found for as little as the cost of a laptop.
Scan, Review, and Document with Ease
Exo Works enables doctors and other medical professionals with an easy-to-learn process. In a nutshell, Exo Works makes it easy to:
- Scan with any DICOM-enabled ultrasound machine.
- Review and document findings in seconds.
- Automatically save to EMR and PACS for billing and storage.
- Securely distribute and access ultrasound exams through the cloud.
Ultimately, POCUS is all about accurate and timely scans at the point of care, helping move patients from “What’s wrong with me?” to “How are we going to treat this?” in a much quicker and cost-effective manner. Learn more about Exo Works, or book a demo today.