A comparison of telemedicine teaching to in-person teaching for the acquisition of an ultrasound skill – a pilot project

A comparison of telemedicine teaching to in-person teaching for the acquisition of an ultrasound skill – a pilot project

A comparison of telemedicine teaching to in-person teaching for the acquisition of an ultrasound skill - a pilot project

  1. Anne-Marie Brisson2
  2. Peter Steinmetz1
  3. Sharon Oleskevich1
  4. John Lewis1
  5. Andrew Reid1

  1. 1Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Canada

  2. 2Undergraduate medical education, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Canada
  1. Peter Steinmetz, Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Staff Physician, Intensive Care Unit, St. Mary’s Hospital
    Center- McGill University, 3830 Avenue Lacombe, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3T-1M5. Email: peter.steinmetz{at}mcgill.ca

Abstract

Telemedicine is widely used for medical education but few studies directly investigate how telemedicine teaching compares
to conventional in-person teaching. Here we determine whether telemedicine teaching is as effective as in-person teaching
for the acquisition of an ultrasound skill important in trauma care. Nurses with no prior ultrasound experience (n = 10) received
study material and a teaching session on how to locate and image the hepatorenal space (Morison’s pouch). One group of nurses
was taught in-person (In-person Group) and the other group was taught via telemedicine (Telemedicine Group). Telemedicine
allowed two-way audio and visual communication between the instructor and the nurses. A comparison of the teaching techniques
showed that telemedicine teaching was equivalent to in-person teaching for the acquisition of practical and theoretical skills
required to locate Morison’s pouch. The average time required to locate Morison’s pouch after teaching was similar between
both groups. The results demonstrate that telemedicine teaching is as effective as in-person teaching for the acquisition
of bedside ultrasound skills necessary to identify Morison’s pouch. Remote teaching of these bedside ultrasound skills may
help in the diagnosis of intra-abdominal bleeding in rural healthcare centers.

  • Accepted February 2, 2015.