What is point-of-care ultrasound?

Point-of-care ultrasound or POCUS:

  • is ultrasonography brought to the patient and performed by a health care provider in conjunction with the clinical examination in real time.
  • allows findings to be directly correlated with the patient’s presenting signs and symptoms.
  • allows real-time dynamic image interpretation (rather than images recorded by a sonographer and interpreted later).
  • allows goal-directed, simplified, problem-based assessments (generally qualitative and binomial; rather than quantitative and descriptive).
  • allows the provider to maintain expected workflow (time sensitive and repeatable).
  • allows images to be archived for clinical, education, research and quality assurance purposes.  


Associated terms for POCUS include:  “clinical ultrasound”, bedside ultrasound”, “focused ultrasound”, “emergency ultrasound”, and “limited ultrasound”.