Dr. Virginia Robinson, a family physician practicing in Fernie, BC., is at the center of a POCUS project to bring handheld ultrasound to rural communities across British Columbia, Canada. Watch her video to learn how Dr. Robinson is using POCUS for COVID-19 or read her interview.
What challenges are rural physicians facing during the COVID-19 pandemic?
«Well, as always, in rural areas you’re far away from the advanced technology, and advanced technology at this particular moment in time means were not able to get rapid testing for COVID-19. We’re able to test people for COVID-19, but those tests go all the way to Kelowna, which means we might not get our answer back for four or five days.»
How has handheld ultrasound helped?
«With handheld ultrasound, we’re now able to complete many ultrasound exams, including cardiac ultrasound, lung ultrasound, and abdominal ultrasound. We’ve been using ultrasound in trauma for about 10 years, but now all of a sudden, we have a small handheld device that can be easily sterilized and kept clean so we can use it in the diagnosis of COVID-19 and quickly clean it between patients.»
Is COVID-19 diagnosis faster?
«Because there’s certain findings with lung ultrasound that go along with COVID-19, it can really help us decide whether this patient is suffering from COVID-19 or suffering from some other cause of cough or shortness of breath. We have been using ultrasound for about 10 years in rural areas helping with trauma. But now, with COVID-19 there’s extra concerns about contamination. So being able to sterilize the probe between patients quickly and easily is a big bonus.»
Does POCUS take the place of swab testing?
«It doesn’t replace PCR or swab testing in terms of a definitive answer. We can use the ultrasound to look at the lungs and the heart and say, well this sure goes with COVID-19. And for those of us in rural areas who aren’t going to get our swab result back for four or five days, it can be really helpful.»
Thank you Dr. Virginia Robinson for sharing your success story in using Clarius on the front lines and for all your efforts in treating patients suffering from COVID-19.