UBC RCPD rolls out new point-of-care ultrasound course

The inaugural faculty training session for HOUSE was held in Terrace, BC in May 2015

UBC Rural Continuing Professional Development (RCPD) will be rolling out a new, point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) CME course for rural physicians this fall. The Hands-On Ultrasound Skills Enhancement (HOUSE) program is a traveling modular course that can be customized to the learning needs of individual rural communities, even small locales with as few as three rural physicians.

“Ultrasound is an amazing tool that is changing the way we practice medicine at the point-of-care,” explains Dr. Ray Markham, Medical Director for UBC RCPD. “It has the potential to impact and improve patient health in rural practice, especially when we take a holistic view of our patients in their community/context.”

HOUSE grew from an identified need for scalable, flexible, locally available hands-on medical education in rural British Columbia. In UBC RCPD’s Rural Emergency Medicine Needs Assessment study, rural physicians expressed a desire to have more peer-led educational opportunities brought to their communities to address their specific needs.

After the course is booked, HOUSE participants work collaboratively with UBC RCPD to select a list or “menu” of ultrasound applications that will be most relevant to a community’s local practice. These applications are available in learning module clusters and include topics such as trauma, shock, abdominal pain, respiratory distress, or peripheral ultrasound, in addition to the individual application units. The course may be scaled to cover one or two days of education.

Once the course content is selected, learners complete pre-course video and reading modules followed by a short quiz to test their knowledge prior to attending the course. This “flipped classroom” style of learning empowers instructors to utilize every minute of on-site time for hands-on teaching. Two months after the course, participants complete a reflective exercise to assess the impact of the course on their practice. This post-course activity supports accreditation for the course and also provides direction for course instructors and program developers to strengthen communities of practice.

In early May 2015, UBC RCPD piloted HOUSE in two BC communities: Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii, and Terrace. The Queen Charlotte City pilot modeled a framework for delivering the course in a small, remote location.  Dr. Tracy Morton, a local QCC physician, collaborated with RCPD to host a course for seven local physicians who identified their learning needs prior to the start of the course. A larger course, held in Terrace, doubled as a faculty development event for 11 participants. HOUSE Course Director, Dr. Tandi Wilkinson, describes her faculty team as “a combination of rural docs with ultrasound experience and training, ultrasound techs, and academically focused urban ER docs with extensive ultrasound training and experience. Each one brings a different and valuable perspective to the course.” Through both pilots, the Rural CPD team received valuable feedback that improved the structure and delivery of HOUSE for future iterations.

Full rollout of the course will commence this Fall, with the first course taking place October 3 + 4 in Castlegar, and the second course running on October 5 in Nakusp. Through the generous support of the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC), HOUSE has sufficient funding to deliver 20 courses to rural British Columbia over the next two years.

All rural BC communities interested in requesting the HOUSE course are invited to contact UBC RCPD.

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