This is now happening and quickly ultrasound

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This is now happening, and quickly. Ultrasound education is now part of emergency medicine, critical care, and surgical training programs. Several medical schools in the United States are longitudinally integrating ultrasound into their curriculum – both in the preclinical (anatomy, pathophysiology) and clinical years. Internationally, the opportunity that even one ultrasound machine offers in terms of diagnostic and procedural capability has also been recognized by clinicians. Organizations such as the World Interactive Network Focused on Critical Ultrasound (WINFOCUS) have taught courses in over 40 different countries over the last five years. The demand is greater than the ability of organizations like WINFOCUS to keep up. Moreover, in the United States there is a growing awareness of the risks of repeated radiation exposure from computed tomography and a new appreciation of rising healthcare costs. This has focused attention toward point-of-care diagnostic testing such as ultrasound, and has sparked a reassessment of diagnostic imaging strategies. There has never been a greater opportunity for ultrasound, and our challenge now is to pursue a research agenda that evaluates how to incorporate point- of-care ultrasound into patient care safely, efficiently, and effectively. The benefits of ultrasound as outlined in our previous introduction are the same: “Not only can it assist the physician at the bedside in making diag- noses, it can do so without exposing the patient to harmful radiation and it can be repeated infinitely without requiring transportation as clinical situ- ations change. It can assist in performing invasive procedures under direct visualization. It can help guide the physician in mobilizing further resources or consultations, direct which testing should be done next, or provide the proof needed to undertake more invasive procedures to stabilize patients. Most importantly, it enables physicians to understand and diagnose patho- physiology directly with moving images in real time.” Today, the groundswell of interest is greater and so we must strive even harder to find the best way to use this powerful tool. Our goal in this edition is the same as it was in 2007. We want to introduce physicians to the way the machine works, and to give an overview of the basic principles needed to operate a bedside ultrasound machine. We have expanded the list of applica- tions to incorporate new research and development since the last edition. And most importantly, we want to continue to communicate the potential of ultrasound and to inspire physicians to use it more widely. Ultrasound is not just another innovation – it can play a key role in advancing our diagnostic capability, and therefore in providing safe and efficient treatment for our patients.
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