J Korean Med Sci.  2021 May;36(21):e141. 10.3346/jkms.2021.36.e141.

The Use of Point-of-care Ultrasound in Emergency Medical Centers in Korea: a National Cross-sectional Survey

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is an essential tool in emergency medicine (EM). We aimed to investigate the current status and perception of POCUS use in emergency medical centers in Korea.
A cross-sectional, nationwide survey was conducted using a mobile survey of physicians at emergency medical centers in Korea. The first message was sent on November 27, 2020, and the second message was sent on December 3, 2020 to the non-responders. The questionnaire comprised 6 categories and 24 questionnaires on demographics, current practice, education, perception, and barriers to the use of POCUS.
A total of 467 physicians participated in the survey (a response rate of 32% among 1,458 target physicians), of which 43% were residents and 57% were EM specialists. Most of the respondents (96%) answered that they use POCUS, of which 89% reported using it at least once a week. The most frequently used types of POCUS were focused assessment with sonography for trauma (68%) and echocardiography (66%). Musculoskeletal, male genital, and pediatric scans were rarely performed tests but ranked as of the scans physicians most wanted to learn. About 73% of the respondents received ultrasound education, and 41% received ultrasound education at their own institutions. Nevertheless, educationrelated barriers are still the biggest deterrent to POCUS use (60%). In addition, multivariate multinomial logistic regression analysis revealed that the greater the number of ultrasound devices and the total number of physicians in the emergency center, the more likely they were to use POCUS every day.
This study found that most physicians currently working in emergency medical centers in Korea more frequently perform various types of ultrasound scans compared to those 10 years prior. To further promote the use of POCUS, it is important to have an appropriate number of ultrasound devices and physicians in the emergency center along with systematic POCUS education.


Point-of-care Ultrasound; Ultrasonography; Education; Nationwide Survey; Emergency Medicine


  • Fig. 1 Survey flow.

  • Fig. 2 Current application types of POCUS and POCUS type that physicians wanted to learn.POCUS = point-of-care ultrasound, CPR = cardiopulmonary resuscitation, FAST = focused assessment with sonography for trauma, Thorax = thoracic ultrasonography, Abdomen = abdominal ultrasonography, OBGY = obstetrics and gynecological ultrasonography, Kidney = renal and urinary ultrasonography, Male = male genitalia ultrasonography, Low extremities = lower extremities vascular ultrasonography, Soft tissue = soft tissue ultrasonography, Musculoskeletal = musculoskeletal ultrasonography, Eye = ocular ultrasonography, C-line = ultrasonography for central line insertion, Procedure = ultrasonography for the ultrasound-guided procedure, Pediatric = pediatric ultrasonography.


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