Providing healthcare to rural populations with Real Time Remote Telementored Ultrasound

Date

2022

Authors

Wyszynski, Katy
Hadley, Lesca
Gibson, John

ORCID

0000-0003-4046-7775 (Wyszynski, Katy)

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Introduction University of North Texas HSC medical students learn Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) in clinical settings as part of their curriculum. In 2021, students provided healthcare screenings and ultrasound scans to hundreds of patients in underserved rural communities in West Texas. Students utilized Butterfly's teleguidance technology to perform complex scans for the first time by using Remote Telementored Ultrasound (RTMUS) which allows a two-way video call, so that a remote practitioner visualizes the ultrasound scan and the probe location on the patient in real time. Methods We encountered a 62-year-old female with a 2/6 systolic ejection murmur. She noted a history of congenital heart disease diagnosed at birth, but the patient was unsure of the diagnosis and has not seen a cardiologist in many years. POCUS was performed on the patient. Results This patient had grossly normal cardiac POCUS examination. However, one anatomical location at the base of the patient's interventricular septum appeared thin. From her medical history and cardiac imaging, the remote practitioner approximated that she had a previous ventricular septal defect at birth that closed spontaneously. Discussion POCUS is a valuable tool in rural settings for patient management. Using RTMUS, trained physicians and students can bring advanced technology to remote settings using experts in distant locations, allowing ultrasound to serve as an adjunct to the physical exam even in places where healthcare inequalities commonly exist. With the expansion of this technology, RTMUS has the potential to provide ultrasound technology to underserved populations globally.

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