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Point-of-Care Ultrasound program for ED docs

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In the Emergency Department (ED) at The Scarborough Hospital (TSH), doctors are improving care using more than their skills and expertise. They’re also making an impact through their philanthropy.

This past July, TSH started a new fellowship program for ED physicians to be trained in advanced Point-of-Care Ultrasound skills.

“Point-of-Care Ultrasounds are where the future of emergency medicine lies,” says Dr. Sachin Ramkissoon, ED Ultrasound Director at TSH.

“Instead of having to request and wait for an ultrasound from the diagnostic imaging department, these units can be brought to the patient and are used to determine everything from internal bleeding, to how the heart is pumping, to the location and health of a fetus.  This means shorter wait times, better care, and an increase in patient satisfaction.”

Two physicians are training in the EDs at TSH to earn their Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer certification and an Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship certification. They will be trained by TSH’s Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship Director Dr. Jeffrey Shih, who received his advanced Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship training at Yale University.

In addition to the launch of the Fellowship program, Point-of-Care Ultrasound results are now being recorded electronically into the patient’s record. Every scan is reviewed by either Dr. Shih or Dr. Ramkissoon. As well, more than 70 per cent of the ED physicians at TSH have been trained to the standards set out by the Canadian Emergency Ultrasound Society.

“It’s all a part of our goal to deliver world-class emergency medicine care to our global community,” says Dr. Ramkissoon.

Bringing Point-of-Care Ultrasounds to TSH has truly been a team effort. In 2014, TSH’s ED physicians funded the purchase of several probes and the software, collectively donating about $30,000. This year, they donated enough to fund another four units at a total retail cost of more than $200,000. The hospital’s two EDs now have six state-of-the-art Point-of-Care Ultrasound machines.

The doctors’ community spirit doesn’t stop there. For the last 10 years, they have also sponsored an annual retreat for ED staff. They provide funding and travel grants for an event that helps to build skills and team morale. And, the doctors also purchased personalized scrubs for the entire team (in addition to buying their own new scrubs).

In the ED, care depends on teamwork – a group of health professionals who are in sync. You see the coordination in how they work and now in what they wear.

Traditionally, health care workers provide their own uniforms, so styles and patterns vary. With the new ED scrubs, the style is the same, and each profession has its own shade, with staff members’ names embroidered along with the hospital logo. It helps to boost team spirit, makes for an even more professional look, and helps patients and families to identify each person on their care team.

TSH’s Chief of Emergency Services, Dr. Norm Chu, points out that the scrubs – like the overall generosity of the ED doctors – have an important meaning. “They emphasize the connection between us, and that we’re on the same team for the patient and for each other,” he says.

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