Would you let your family fly in an airplane at night if the pilot didn’t have radar? I certainly wouldn’t. That pilot would be flying blind. It’s the same for ultrasound. When a physician performs an invasive procure without ultrasound guidance, it’s akin to a flying blind. In one of my recent articles, “Ultrasound Guidance at the Point of Care: This Practice Lets Health Systems and Accountable Care Organizations Improve Patient Safety and Costs,” published in Executive Insight, I argue that health executives should carefully weigh the safety, efficiency, and potential for reducing (or avoiding) costs by implementing the same high standards of care across the organization. Appropriate use of ultrasound guidance at the point of care:*
- Reduces errors
- Increases the efficiency of real-time diagnosis
- Supplements or replaces other imaging modalities in appropriate circumstances
Given the squeeze on finances coupled with the increased expectation of good clinical outcomes, I believe that health systems can no longer afford to ignore the benefits of ultrasound at the bedside.
* Moore CL, Copel JA. Point-of-care ultrasonography, N Engl J Med. 2011 Feb 24;364(8):749-757