Programme no. 431-OP
Professional Development
The use of ultrasound in general practice in different European countries.
Troels Mengel-Jørgensen*1, Martin Bach Jensen2, Niels Bentzen3
1Research Unit for General Practice in North Denmark Region,Aalborg,Denmark, 2Research Unit for General Practice in North Denmark Region,Aalborg,Denmark;Department of Clinical Medicine,Aalborg University,Aalborg,Denmark, 3Research Unit for General Practice in North Denmark Region,Aalborg,Denmark;Department of Clinical Medicine,Aalborg University,Aalborg,Denmark
* = Presenting author
Objectives: To collect information about the use and organizational aspects of point-of-care ultrasound in general practice in different European countries.
Background: The use of point-of-care ultrasound increases rapidly in general practice. We were involved in developing guidelines for teaching point-of-care ultrasound for general practitioners in Denmark and we were curious about how it was done in other countries.
Results: In eight out of 12 countries/regions there was a national society for the use of ultrasound in general practice, but the organizational structure differed. The respondents from three countries reported that the use of ultrasound was integrated in the undergraduate education. In nine of the countries/regions there were formalized education for general practice for general practitioners, but only three reported it to be part of the specialization to become a general practitioner. In seven out of 12 countries general practitioners received payment for doing ultrasound scans. However, the payment differed between countries and so did the requirements (certification) for reimbursement.

“Economical aspects” was reported to be a “very important/important “barrier in 80% of the countries/regions, “lack of time” by 2/3, and “lack of education” by 60%.

Material/Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey among key persons with knowledge about the use of ultrasound in general practice in Austria, Catalonia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland.

The participants received a link to a web-based questionnaire with questions about organizational structure and the educational aspects regarding point of care ultrasound, clinical indications/applications and use, economical aspects, ethical questions, research, and main barriers for using ultrasound in general practice.

Conclusion: There were significant differences regarding the use and organizational aspects of point-of-care ultrasound in general practice across the participating countries. Economy was generally the most important barrier to general practitioners use of point-of-care ultrasound.
Points for discussion: How should ultrasound be integrated into the future educational curriculum and daily work of general practitioners? How can this be achieved?