This article discusses the benefits of integrating point-of-care diagnostic ultrasound into the four-year medical school curriculum. Handheld ultrasound devices have been used to teach medical students at the University of California (UC), Irvine, since August 2010, and the article explains how the use of this inexpensive, safe, and noninvasive tool enhances the ability of a physician conducting a standard physical exam to confirm suspected findings and uncover other suspected pathology at a reasonable cost. The authors describe the ultrasound curriculum at UC Irvine and the process of its implementation. In the appendix to the article, the authors describe the specific diagnostic benefits of using a handheld ultrasound device for each element of the Stanford 25 physical exam. Their ultrasound-enhanced approach to the physical exam is referred to as the “UCI 30.” They make recommendations for how and when to integrate ultrasound into the physical exam. The article points out that early training of medical students in the use of ultrasound can avoid the diagnostic problems of ultrasound by maximizing students’ comfort and ability to obtain accurate ultrasound images for diagnostic and procedural purposes.
Dr. Fox is director of instructional ultrasound, assistant dean of student affairs, and professor of clinical emergency medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California.
Ms. Schlang is a fourth-year medical student, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California.
Ms. Maldonado is a first-year medical student, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California.
Dr. Lotfipour is associate dean for clinical science education, professor of emergency medicine, and director, Emergency Medicine Research Associates Program, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California.
Dr. Clayman is dean, School of Medicine, and professor of urology, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California.
Funding/Support: None reported.
Other disclosures: None reported.
Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Fox, 19 Calle Gaulteria, San Clemente, CA 92673; telephone: (949) 842-2167; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.