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PLoS One. 2017 Sep 29;12(9):e0185031. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185031. eCollection 2017.

Educational value of pocket-sized ultrasound devices to improve understanding of ultrasound examination principles and sonographic anatomy for medical student.

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Department of Radiology, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Republic of Korea.
Department of Medical Education, Gachon University College of Medicine, Incheon, Republic of Korea.
Division of Cardiology, Heart Center, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Republic of Korea.



Medical students must understand the principles of ultrasonography (US), because US examinations are an important component of patient care in clinical practice. Pocket-sized ultrasound devices have the benefits of accessibility and ease of use. The primary objective of the present study was to evaluate the educational value of these devices in terms of improving medical student interest and understanding of US and sonographic anatomy.


We added a US training program comprised of a self-study learning module and a hands-on training session to a two-week block curriculum of medical imaging for first year medical students (n = 40). Multiple pocket-sized US devices were used on a small-group basis during a single afternoon. Students were asked to complete a questionnaire before and after the US training session; these two questionnaires contained 6 and 10 questions, respectively, which were rated by students using a five-point Likert scale. In addition, understanding of sonographic anatomy was tested before and after the training program.


Forty students completed the two questionnaires and the anatomy-related tests. Students found the program educationally valuable (4.37 ± 0.54 of 5) and reported that US practice was useful for improving their understanding of the principles of US examinations (4.23 ± 0.66 of 5) and sonographic anatomy (4.40 ± 0.55 of 5). Overall confidence at performing US examinations and understanding of sonographic anatomy were significantly increased after US training (increased overall confidence score, 1.87 ± 0.91 and improvement in sonographic anatomy score, 6.55 ± 1.55, p values < 0.001).


US training using pocket-sized ultrasound devices was found to be educationally valuable for medical students in terms of improving understanding of US principles and familiarizing students with sonographic anatomy.

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