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PP33 Use of point of care ultrasound in prehospital care: an interview study
  1. Joseph Akanuwe1,
  2. Aloysius Niroshan Siriwardena1,
  3. Luc Bidaut2,
  4. Pauline Mitchell1,
  5. Paul Bird4,
  6. Dan Lasserson5,
  7. Richard Lilford3
  1. 1Community and Health Research Unit, School of Health and Social Care, University of Lincoln, UK
  2. 2School of Computer Science, University of Lincoln, UK
  3. 3Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, UK
  4. 4Institute for Translational Medicine Research and Development, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, UK
  5. 5Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, UK


Background Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) is a currently available and rapidly developing technology but still not widely used in the UK. Prehospital PoCUS could help to prioritise initial treatment, procedures and appropriate patient conveyance.

A recent literature review suggests that the image quality, portability and cost of ultrasound devices are improving with widening indications for prehospital PoCUS but evidence of prehospital use and impact is needed in the UK. We aimed to explore the views of practitioners (who use ultrasound in practice) on the potential role of PoCUS and the facilitators associated with its use in prehospital care.

Methods We conducted a qualitative interview study using purposive sampling through social media and a snowballing technique to recruit eligible participants. Individual interviews were conducted online via Microsoft Teams. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using a Thematic Framework approach assisted by NVivo 12 software until data saturation.

Results In total, 16 practitioners aged between 36 and 62 years, with a range of professional backgrounds including paramedics and prehospital emergency physicians, participated in interviews. Participants identified several facilitators to support a widespread implementation of PoCUS in prehospital care: resource requirements for purchase and deployment of devices, sufficient time and a skilled workforce; paying special attention to training, education and support needs; ensuring there is proper organisational governance, guidelines and quality assurance; and including supportive staff, champions and leadership in workforce considerations. Enabling ease of use in aiding decision making and taking unintended consequences or incidental findings into consideration; and more robust evidence to support perceptions of improved patient outcomes and experience, were also identified as facilitators.

Conclusions Prehospital PoCUS could be a useful intervention for improving care processes and patient health outcomes. However, the facilitators identified should be considered for a widespread implementation of prehospital PoCUS.

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