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Implementation of a successful incentive-based ultrasound credentialing program for emergency physicians
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  • Gavin Budhram, MD, Baystate Health
  • Tala Elia, MD, Baystate Health
  • Niels Rathlev, MD, Baystate Health
Document Type
Article, Peer-reviewed
Publication Date


With the rapid expansion of emergency ultrasound, resident education in ultrasound has become more clearly developed and broadly integrated. However, there still exists a lack of guidance in the training of physicians already in practice to become competent in this valuable skill. We sought to employ a step-wise, goal-directed, incentive-based credentialing program to educate emergency physicians in the use of emergency ultrasound. Successful completion of this program was the primary outcome. METHODS:

The goal was for the physicians to gain competency in 8 basic ultrasound examinations types: aorta, focused assessment with sonography in trauma, cardiac, renal, biliary, transabdominal pelvic, transvaginal pelvic, and deep venous thrombosis. We separated the 2.5 year training program into 4 distinct blocks, with each block focusing on 2 of the ultrasound examination types. Each block consisted of didactic and hands-on sessions with the goal of the physician completing 25 technically-adequate studies of each examination type. There was a financial incentive associated with completion of these requirements. RESULTS:

A total of 31 physicians participated in the training program. Only one physician, who retired prior to the end of the 2.5 year period, did not successfully complete the program. All have applied for and received hospital privileging in emergency ultrasound and incorporated it into their daily practice. CONCLUSION:

We found that a step-wise, incentive-based ultrasound training program with a combination of didactics and ample hands-on teaching was successful in the training of physicians already in practice.

Citation Information
Budhram G, Elia T, Rathlev N. Implementation of a successful incentive-based ultrasound credentialing program for emergency physicians. West J Emerg Med. 2013 Nov;14(6):602-8.