As mobile ultrasound devices get smaller and more affordable, their utilization in the daily health care becomes more significant and important.
Healthcare providers from a wide range of medical specialties use ultrasonography in their daily practice. However, many providers are not familiar with the technique and need to learn to perform and interpret a variety of different bedside ultrasounds for diagnostic and procedural purposes.
This is why the ultrasound education grows popular among physicians, residents, and other healthcare professionals who want to learn more about utilization of the ultrasound at the point of care. The learning process is a lot easier thanks to multiple mobile apps available to teach this subject.
SonoSite is one of the market leaders and specialists in portable ultrasound for point-of-care (POC) medicine, working on highly advanced ultrasound systems used around the globe.
They also developed SonoAccess app, a free interactive mobile learning platform for medical providers, enabling them to access high-quality instructional ultrasound images and videos to teach them common diagnostic and procedural ultrasound techniques.
SonoAccess app includes over 200 high-quality clinical videos, case studies, 100 ultrasound images, and reference guides that physicians, residents, and other healthcare professionals can use to study various ultrasound techniques for different specialties.
The app is free to download and use on Android and iOS devices. However, some content is not available until users register an account, which can be done in the app and requires providing basic information.
Upon starting the app, it would offer to take you through the quick tour explaining main features of the app. I found this part unnecessary because SonoAccess app is very easy to use.
The app opens to the main screen that features the latest content, including videos, images, case studies, educational materials, etc.
You can filter the main page content to be more specific to your specialty by taping on menu icon on the top left. There are multiple specialties to choose from, including Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Critical Care, Internal Medicine, OB/Gyn, and more.
However, the content for some specialties would overlap with others, for example, Cardiology with Critical Care or Emergency Medicine.
Once a medical specialty is selected, you can choose to view videos and images for each. Videos and images need to be downloaded, which requires an Internet connection. Once downloaded, images, videos, as well as other downloadable content would be available in the Downloads section and accessible offline.
Videos mostly focus on techniques on how to perform a specific point-of-care ultrasound. There is also Cases section with videos explaining how to interpret the images obtained using ultrasound techniques.
Some videos use 3D anatomic models side-by-side with real-time ultrasound images to demonstrate a technique. Videos are usually taught by an instructor, explaining the transducer orientation alongside the ultrasound images.
The videos also include annotations for important anatomic structures, as well as narration that describes each technique.
Also, unlike in One Minute Ultrasound app, we reviewed recently, videos in the SonoAccess app can be viewed horizontally, which is useful particularly on smaller screens.
Ability to visualize ultrasound techniques with clear and methodical descriptions make easier to understand the relationship between the orientation of the transducer and the anatomic structures seen in ultrasound images, especially for ultrasound beginners.
The Images section contains still images of ultrasound scans showing different anatomic systems, with or without labels. Images have no textual descriptions or narration tho.
To be accessed and viewed, both videos and images need to be downloaded by tapping on little arrow icon beside their titles. After the download is finished, these videos and images should be available in the Downloads section for an offline access.
However, I've encountered a problem here. Even after I downloaded a set of images, they weren't available after I've opened them. For example, ultrasound for 1st Trimester Pregnancy contains 19 images. I was able to open only two, while the rest of the images couldn't open, showing generic image icon.
This didn't only happen in larger albums with a bigger number of items. It also happened in an ultrasound of Ocular Retinal Detachment that only contains one image.
Besides videos and images explaining ultrasound procedures, SonoAccess app also features product videos that dominate over educational in some specialties. There are also downloadable webinars and user stories.
Not all content in the app is downloadable. Some, such as articles, case studies, product info, and educational materials link to SonoSite website.
SonoAccess app also provides access to other resources, such as user guides, service manuals, and videos for various ultrasound products.
There is a legitimate worry that an educational app developed by an ultrasound manufacturer may be biased toward own products. The app indeed promotes SonoSite's ultrasound devices, but that doesn't affect the educational segment and quality of the app. Clinical teaching from the videos could be applied to point-of-care ultrasound using any machine.
However, I would place product videos in one separate section, or between regular videos, but I wouldn't let them dominate over the educational material.
The download was a bit slower on decent network speed even for smaller videos Also, once downloaded, some images couldn't open.
Although intended for bedside ultrasound teaching, my opinion is that SonoAccess app may work better if used for self-study, mostly because of the longer and comprehensive format of videos.
One minute videos from One Minute Ultrasound app are a better way to learning the point-of-care ultrasound. Despite this, SonoAccess app is still a valuable educational resource for teaching and learning bedside ultrasound.
Benefit: All medical providers learning how to perform point-of-care ultrasounds