Department of Medical Imaging, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center / University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
“POCUS” （Point-of-Care Ultrasound） is the use of US by healthcare providers at the time they are physically evaluating a patient or performing a procedure on the patient. A “Boon” is something helpful or beneficial. The goal in caring for a patient is to make the most specific diagnosis causing patient’s symptoms as soon as possible so treatment can begin resulting in best patient outcome. Traditional “Diagnostic US” is the use of US by another specialist like a radiologist or cardiologist to examine a patient that has been referred by another physician after they have examined the patient with possible diagnosis and no specific anatomical information. Appropriately trained physicians can now use high quality laptop or handheld US units at point-of-care to enhance their physical examination. No need to use a stethoscope when the heart can be imaged and observed looking for abnormalities. Many other structures can be evaluated in the same way. POCUS allows more timely patient care. For example, if patient has right upper quadrant pain, usually referring physician will refer patient for right upper quadrant （RUQ） US to evaluate the gallbladder. If GB is normal and rest of RUQ US is normal, patient will usually need to be scheduled for a CT. If referring physician used POCUS and GB was normal, they would refer patient for another examination like CT. If referring physician uses POCUS and finds abnormality, they will need documentation and in most cases further characterization which can be provided by Radiology and may include CEUS. With the added anatomical information provided by the referring physician, Radiology, using the appropriate study, can make a more specific diagnosis more quickly which will allow earlier treatment and hopefully, better outcome. Why a “Boon” to Radiology. Use of POCUS allows the radiologist to have more specific information to decide which imaging modality would be most appropriate to make a more timely and specific diagnosis. Abnormalities detected with POCUS will need documentation and characterization. Radiologist is a valued member of the teaching faculty needed for POCUS training. US is not only a boon to radiologists but a boon to all healthcare providers, no matter what specialty, and to all patients provided the healthcare provider performing POCUS is well-educated, well-trained, and demonstrated competency. Our mission as “US experts” is to help train these healthcare providers.