Pilot Point-of-Care Ultrasound Curriculum at Harvard Medical School: Early Experience
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pilot Point-of-Care Ultrasound Curriculum at Harvard Medical School: Early Experience



Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is expanding across all medical specialties. As the benefits of US technology are becoming apparent, efforts to integrate US into pre-clinical medical education are growing. We report our efforts of integrating POCUS into the medical curriculum through a multi-disciplinary effort. Our objective is to describe our process of integrating POCUS as an educational tool into the medical school curriculum and how such efforts are perceived by students.


This was a pilot study to introduce ultrasonography into the “blinded for peer review” curriculum to first and second year medical students.  Didactic and hands-on sessions were introduced to first year students during gross anatomy and to second year students in the physical exam course.  Student-perceived attitudes, understanding, and knowledge of US, and its applications to learning the physical exam were measured by a post-assessment survey.

RESULTS: All 1st year anatomy students (n=176) participated in small group hands-on US sessions. In the 2nd year physical diagnosis course, 38 students participated in 4 sessions.  All students (91%) agreed or strongly agreed that additional US teaching should be incorporated throughout the 4 year medical school curriculum.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: POCUS can effectively be integrated into the existing medical school curriculum by utilizing didactic and small group hands-on sessions.  Medical students perceived US training as valuable in understanding human anatomy and in learning physical exam skills. This innovative program demonstrates US as an additional learning modality.  Future goals include expanding on this work to incorporate US education into all 4 years of medical school.

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