Paper Drawing—Surprisingly Efficient Way in Clinical Communications

Why are the sonographers need to use worksheets and diagrams so much?

One of the main reasons for this is that Ultrasound is done in “free hand” so without the description of where the probe was placed, even a radiologist cannot often tell where the images came from. This is unlike other “fixed geometry devices” like CT and MRI. Where there is a clear reference of locations and orientation of patients.

This is why in Ultrasound, attaching diagrams of acquisitions are very important.

Are your images showing the left knee or the right knee or the elbows somewhere? For surgery planning, it’s even critical to explain the exact location of the anatomy.

Naturally, we all think that when it come to diagramming, you would want a drawing tool on a desktop computer, ultimate of which is like Adobe Illustrator.

But drawing with a desktop computer can be like flying a Boeing 777 to visit your friend living only a few blocks away. It will involve so many time consuming steps…

  1. You need to find a suitable desktop computer.

  2. Open the EHR or Workstation tool

  3. Locate the patient or accession

  4. Open up the drawing tool

  5. Start drawing using your mouse.

  6. Save and close it.

  7. Print a copy of it and scan it with a scanner, or save the file and upload it to your EHR.

  8. If it is a printout, walk up to a document scanner

  9. Scan the image, and associate that scan with with an MRN.

  10. Send it

Just imagine, if each of above step takes 1 min each, that’s already 10 min used just to handle the machines. It will actually be more like 2 min for each step, so it will be more like 20 min total spent.

This is the reason why some ultrasound departments prohibit the use of computer drawing tools.

So sometimes a low-tech approach using a high-tech tool like a mobile camera gives you the efficiency you need especially combined with Modality Worklist Driven photo app like ours.

With an integrated clinical photo app like ours, you will simply be doing,

  1. Pull up an appropriate worksheet template from your folder.

  2. Take a pencil and an eraser, and Hand draw for 2 minutes.

  3. Open WinguMD and Select the Study from a Modality Worklist on your phone and take a photo. It will attach the photo directly to your Ultrasound study.

The whole steps takes only 3-5 minutes so you could be saving 10-15 minutes per patient encounter.