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Family Medicine & Primary Care Review
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vol. 19
Original paper

Experiences of family physicians after a CME ultrasound course

Katarzyna Szwamel, Piotr Polański, Donata Kurpas

Family Medicine & Primary Care Review 2017; 19(1): 62–69
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Background. Ultrasonography is an inexpensive, safe, noninvasive tool for obtaining diagnoses without performing further imaging tests, and for the timely referral of patients to further diagnosis or specialist care.

Objectives. To determine which ultrasound tests are most often performed by family physicians, and what factors contribute to their use of ultrasound imaging.

Material and methods. This survey-based study using the authors’ questionnaire was conducted in March 2016 among 81 primary care

physicians who had completed weekend courses on ultrasound abdominal cavity imaging.

Results. Family physicians most often took ultrasounds of the abdominal cavity (35/50; 70%) and thyroid gland (35/50, 12%). The odds of an ultrasound being performed at primary care centers with at least two physicians with the necessary skills were about 29.29 times higher than at centers with less than two skilled physicians (OR 29.29, 95% CI 3.77, 1347.92). Family physicians (46/81; 56.79%) referred 274 patients for further specialist diagnosis. The diagnosis of neoplastic disease was confirmed in 168 cases (168/274; 61.31%).

The anomalies that were most often detected by family physicians using ultrasound imaging included: cholelithiasis (24/50; 48%), renal cysts (16/50; 32%), nephrolithiasis (5/50; 10%), aortic aneurysms (2/50; 4%).

Conclusions. Family physicians’ ability to perform ultrasound scans increases the probability of other doctors acquiring this skill. Weekend courses for family physicians significantly shorten patients’ waiting time for such examinations. A network of professional and upto-date workshops improving the practical skills of family physicians in ultrasound diagnostics, as well as peer review groups focused on ultrasound diagnostics performed by family physicians, are recommended.

Primary health care, ultrasonography, physicians, family

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