Online course trains medical staff in imaging skills

THE Malaysian Advanced Acute Internal Medicine and Ultrasound Society (MAAIMUSS) and the College of Physicians, Academy of Medicine have organised the first National Hybrid Ultrasound & Echocardiography Course online.

The e-training catered to medical officers and physicians from various internal medicine sub-specialities in a single event.

The Oct 27 event was organised under the patronage of the Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Ibni Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail, the College of Physicians and the Department of Medicine, Hospital Tuanku Fauziah, and Health Ministry.

The world’s doctors are fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic on two fronts.

The virus is still mainly identified as a lung-related ailment; its main symptom being a dry cough, which in acute cases, can lead to viral pneumonia.

However, the new coronavirus also assaulted other vital organs, including the heart, and does not discriminate in any way.

The new threat meant that hospitals do not just need mechanical ventilators that help patients breathe, in their anti-virus arsenal.

With hospitals swamped with both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients, it is essential that limited resources are optimised to the maximum.

Nowadays, ultrasound machines exhibit state-of-the-art software that can keep close tabs on Covid-19’s assault on the heart and lungs, allowing clinicians to react early and save lives.

“What the mind doesn’t know, the eye will not see,” said MAAIMUSS patron Tuanku Syed Faizuddin, adding that it was important to equip medical professionals with basic ultrasound skills.

This first national hybrid training ultrasound event was themed “Ultrasound & Echo –- seeing it right the first time!”

The programme was specially tailored to update physicians and medical officers on the latest fronts in Advanced Acute Internal Medicine (AAIM), including imaging that was relevant to Covid-19.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has been instrumental in supporting the discipline ever since launching AAIM last year.

Medical experts find that AAIM is well positioned to assist in the fight against Covid-19 because its physicians are capable of multitasking across various specialities.

Prof Datuk Dr Paras Doshi, an Advanced Acute Medicine consultant in Hospital Tuanku Fauziah, Perlis, who is also the vice-president of the College Of Physicians Malaysia, said the movement restrictions imposed during a pandemic should not be a hindrance to knowledge and skill acquisition, especially not for healthcare providers and medical professionals.

“We have to move away from the traditional classroom model and embrace a hybrid tech-enabled model that facilitates teaching and mentoring, wherever the trainees may be,” he said.

Phase 1 of the training was a webinar that engaged 100 participants nationwide, he said, adding that each hospital enlisted one or two trainees to ensure no facility was left out.

Phase 2, said Prof Paras, involved localised hands-on training to take place in every hospital in the country over the span of over a month without the physical movement of personnel.

He said it would entail a massive exercise of identifying local trainers and retraining for them to be familiar with the syllabus and then coordinating their training and moving forward.

“There is also a need to establish a body of certified trainers who will then inspect the imaging videos uploaded to a cloud computing facility.

“This training strategy utilises existing manpower and expertise within the local hospital set up without the movement of personnel, which is crucial in the time of Covid-19,” he added.

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