LAUREL, MARYLAND - The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) announces the launch of Ultrasound First, an initiative designed to call attention to the safe, effective, and affordable advantages of ultrasound as an alternative to other imaging modalities that are more costly and/or emit radiation. For a growing number of clinical conditions, ultrasound has been shown to be equally effective in its diagnostic capability, with a distinct advantage in safety and cost over computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. Despite this advantage, evidence suggests that ultrasound is vastly underutilized. Ultrasound First focuses on educating health care workers, medical educators, insurers, and patients of the benefits of ultrasound in medical care.
“There is growing support and public awareness for the need to reduce and carefully monitor patients’ exposure to radiation during medical imaging. The use of ultrasound as an alternative imaging modality will help achieve that goal while reducing cost,” states AIUM President Alfred Abuhamad, MD. “Many health care workers and insurers are unacquainted with the range of conditions for which ultrasound has been shown to have superior diagnostic capabilities. Disseminating this knowledge to health care workers and incorporating ultrasound in medical protocols where scientific evidence has shown its diagnostic efficacy will undoubtedly improve patient safety and reduce cost. The time to act is now.”
A primary component of Ultrasound First is providing clinical evidence for the use of ultrasound. To that aim, the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine has launched a special feature, the Sound Judgment Series, consisting of invited articles highlighting the clinical value of using ultrasound first in specific clinical diagnoses where ultrasound has shown comparative or superior value. Clinical conditions that will be addressed in the series include postmenopausal bleeding, right lower quadrant pain, pelvic pain, right upper quadrant pain, and shoulder pain, among others. This series will serve as an important educational resource for health care workers and educators.
The AIUM will host an Ultrasound First Forum in November 2012 on the expanding role of ultrasound as a “first” imaging examination, focusing on the diagnostic capabilities, safety, and reduced cost of ultrasound as compared to other imaging modalities. Participation from a broad range of stakeholders, including representatives of specialty societies, insurers, patient advocacy groups, government agencies, industry, and others, is anticipated. The forum will be devoted to encouraging the use of ultrasound as a safe, effective, and affordable alternative to other diagnostic imaging modalities where scientific evidence supports its appropriateness.
The integration of ultrasound into medical education is an equally critical component for realizing the benefits of ultrasound in patient care. Therefore, the AIUM, together with the Society of Ultrasound in Medical Education (www.SUSME.org), have dubbed 2013 the Year of Ultrasound to promote the widespread integration of ultrasound education into medical school curricula and postgraduate continuing medical education activities.
More information about Ultrasound First and links to the Sound Judgment Series can be found at www.ultrasoundfirst.org.
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine is a multidisciplinary medical association of more than 9,000 physicians, sonographers, scientists, students, and other healthcare professionals. Established in the early 1950s, AIUM is dedicated to empowering and cultivating a global multidisciplinary community engaged in the use of medical ultrasound through raising awareness, education, sharing information, and research.