In a New York Times article by Anemona Hartocollis, "New York City Ties Doctors' Income to Quality of Care," many performance indicators are related to the very things that point-of-care (POC) ultrasound offers doctors, patients, and medical systems, such as safety and affordability. Many indicators are also "relational" in nature, with physicians receiving higher scores who communicate regularly with their patients and contribute to patient satisfaction through counseling and educating.
One of the newer paradigms in healthcare is "co-creating health" via patients "partnering" with their healthcare providers. Ultrasound at the point of care offers a particular advantage in this healthcare model. The intimate nature of point-of-care ultrasound and the simple act of a physician sharing real-time scanned images with his/her patient help to encourage patient-doctor communication, education, and a partnership-in-healing relationship.
Of particular value, however, is its contribution to patients feeling that the doctor has spent more quality time with them. Sonosite's Chief Medical Officer and Sr. Vice President Diku Mandavia, MD, comments:
If you read many patient complaints, they often start with something like "The doctor rushed in and rushed out; he/she spent hardly any time examining me...." Point of care ultrasound has a tremendous impact on the PERCEPTION of care. As an example, a doctor could scan a patient and be just learning ultrasound, BUT the patient will think the care is great. The patient is more engaged (when they see their own anatomy) and they will also sense that the doctor spent more time with them. All these elements weigh heavily into patient satisfaction, which is an important consideration of payment in an ACO [accountable care organisation] model. In summary, this is an important halo benefit of ultrasound.