OBJECTIVE: To systematically review and synthesize the published literature regarding the education of general practitioners (GPs) and GPs in training (GPTs) in the use of ultrasonography.
DESIGN: This systematic review was prospectively registered in PROSPERO, conducted according to the Cochrane recommendations. We combined studies identified in a previous systematic review with studies from an updated literature search using the same search string. We searched the following databases: MEDLINE via Pubmed, EMBASE via OVID, Cinahl via Ebsco, Web of Science and Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials using the words 'ultrasonography' and 'general practice'. Two reviewers independently screened articles, extracted data and assessed the quality of included papers according to the Down and Black quality assessment tool. Disagreements were resolved by involving a third reviewer.
RESULTS: Thirty-three papers were included. Ultrasound training was described to include both theoretical and practical training sessions. Theoretical training was achieved through introductory e-learning and/or didactic lectures. Practical training included focussed hands-on training sessions, while some papers described additional longitudinal practical training through proctored scans during clinical work or through self-study practice with continuous feedback on recorded scans.
CONCLUSION: There was a large variation in ultrasound training programs for GPs and GPTs, with an overall emphasis on focussed practical training. Few studies included a longitudinal learning process in the training program. However, diagnostic accuracy seemed to improve with hours of practical training, and studies including continuous feedback on scans conducted during clinical patient encounters showed superior results.