Point of care ultrasound has become an indispensable tool in ICUs and Emergency Departments, but with studies identifying high levels of contamination on ultrasound probes, how can healthcare providers minimise the infection risks and improve safety for patients? Olivier Mazille calls for improvement and standardisation of disinfection processes.
Ultrasound is a versatile medical technology that has become ubiquitous throughout healthcare. The use of diagnostic ultrasound in the United Kingdom has increased steadily in recent years with the number of procedures in England rising from 7.7 million in 2013 to 10.2 million in 2019.1 Reprocessing of ultrasound probes is also evolving, as facilities move away from manual processes towards automated systems that require less hands-on time, while still being safe and effective for point of care use. For all point of care reprocessing, there are factors that facilities and healthcare staff should consider to maximise the safety and efficiency of disinfection workflows.
The emergence of point of care ultrasound
As ultrasound devices become smaller and more portable, the role of ultrasound as a diagnostic tool, at point of care, is becoming more established. Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) is an indispensable tool for triage and management in acute care environments like intensive care units and emergency departments.2,3 Other specialties including obstetrics and gynaecology, urology and general practice are also benefitting from PoCUS.4-6
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