Carol Mitchell, PhD, RDMS, RDCS, RVT, RT(R), ACS, FASE Treasurer University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Working in a community hospital offers a different view of how technology affects the practice of echocardiography. The community medical center works hard to stay current in practice and technology, but often they are not early adopters of the newest technologies for various reasons. As a clinical manager in cardiology services I function as an Advanced Cardiac Sonographer (ACS). The use of remote access to review images has been invaluable. I can review images remotely and assist and guide sonographers to ensure the clinical question is answered even when I am unable to be at their side. In the cath lab and operating room settings, remote viewing allows the cardiologist to offer direction to the sonographer and heart team as well as stay abreast of when they will be needed in the procedures. This provides better time utilization and has increased volume in procedures using echocardiography. The use of Ultrasound Enhancement Agents (contrast) has also advanced in my facility. With the support of ASE guidelines documents we have been able to reduce more and more barriers to the use of contrast. Protocols are set so the sonographer can opt to use contrast when they deem it is appropriate. Sonographers can start IVs and administer the contrast. Using contrast in our lab is now truly seen as an advantageous tool and not an obstruction to workflow. Technology advancements are always fun (who doesn’t want the newest smart phone or gadget)! Technology advancements that are amazing are those that aim to provide better care for our patients. Echocardiography has seen amazing advancements since its inception. I am hopeful that the next wave of technology continues to develop echocardiography as that foundational and necessary tool in cardiac care and imaging.
Elizabeth F. McIlwain, MHS, ACS, RCS, FASE Secretary West Jefferson Medical Center/ LCMC Health
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Technology has changed how I deliver educational content and receive education. In my early years, education was often delivered in the form of face-to-face meetings, and hands-on skill demonstrations, then followed with a paper and pencil test to demonstrate knowledge. Now, many healthcare and academic institutions have embraced the use of technology in the form of learning management systems to deliver education in hybrid methods (face-to-face and online educational formats) or gone to complete online delivery of educational content. Apps are also being integrated into the classroom. Advantages of hybrid and online courses are that they are able to address many learning styles, increase efficiency of sharing knowledge with many learners at one-time, and virtually can be delivered at any time. Technology has also allowed for the delivery of the educational content to be interactive and engaging. I am excited to see how technology will continue to change how we deliver education and share knowledge.