Djóni S. Joensen was one of the first general practitioners (GP) in the Faroe Islands to secure an ultrasound scanner for his clinic in Kollafjørður, and the first to integrate it into his daily practice. It was important for him to be able to provide his patients with accurate and efficient solutions to their problems. With the scanner, the treatment is based on more secure grounds. In individual cases it’s possible to avoid extra investigations that usually take 4-6 weeks waiting time, and sometimes he can even suggest a treatment on the spot. Djóni, who also has a Diploma in Sports from the Danish Sports Medicine, explains below how the scanner has changed and improved his everyday practice:
“I bought the ultrasound scanner in July 2018 without knowing for sure how much I was going to use it, but today I use it on a daily basis. After a year, I can say without a doubt that I wouldn’t want to be without the scanner. It gives me more abilities and thereby improves the service I can provide my patients. But it has also been personally very satisfying, because I am constantly learning and developing myself as a doctor. It makes my everyday practice more exciting, and it’s important for me to feel like I am not stagnated and burnt out in my profession. I also have a special interest for sports medicine and as I become more familiar with the scanner, I am sure my ability to treat sports injuries will increase hugely.
I believe ultrasound scanners are the future in general practices, and with training GPs will be able to solve even more cases on the spot. Having said this, it’s important to highlight that GPs are not specialists in the field. General practices should ask simple yes and no questions, and only use the scanner to rule in and not out – even if I can’t see something on the scanner, I will not assume that it’s not there.”
Today, there are 3 clinics in the Faroe Islands that actively use an ultrasound scanner, and 2 more are on the way. This is one scanner in every six GPs in the country within 1 year, which is a higher ratio than in our neighbouring countries.
Djóni is also in the organising committee of the Ultrasound Update 2019 Course that will take place on 20th and 21st of June in Hotel Føroyar in the capital city, Tórshavn. That the course is hosted in Tórshavn, is an exceptional opportunity for local Faroese GPs to become familiar with the use of ultrasound in their everyday practice, and ideally also encourage even more clinics to get a scanner. Ultimately, the organisers of the course believe that it will bring great value to the residents of the Faroe Islands.
The course leader will be Christian Pállson Nólsøe, who is the President of the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB) and past President of both the European Ultrasound Federation (EFSUMB) and the Danish Ultrasound Society (DSDU). He is a board certified radiologist with subspecialty in ultrasound, and has co-authored over 130 scientific articles and abstracts. Moreover, Christian is half-Faroese, and so to host the Ultrasound Update for 2019 in the beautiful surroundings of Hotel Føroyar overviewing the capital city and island of Nólsoy – which he carries in his last name – is very special. Below Christian explains the impact of ultrasound as well as his personal excitement about hosting the course in Tórshavn.
“Ultrasound scanning represents the ultimate dream of a medical doctor and the idea is probably as old as the science of medicine itself. Imagine being able to stretch out your hand and touch your patients and in the exact same movement and moment diagnose their diseases. This is ultrasound at its peak performance.
Ultrasound scanning provides real-time images of anatomy and pathology without ionizing radiation and is safe to use even for the most fragile of human life such as an unborn baby in the womb of a pregnant woman. It is not only safer but also much cheaper than CT and MR scanning. The technological development has provided miniaturization of battery-powered ultrasonic devices right down to where the scanner itself is in the handheld transducer and a smartphone acts as the monitor. These benefits are the reason behind the explosive progress in ultrasound usage that has led to so-called point of care ultrasound scanning (POCUS) which is gaining widespread foothold in numerous medical specialties including general practice and thus ultimately also the driving force behind the Ultrasound Update 2019 Course.
POCUS implies that the study is done bedside or anywhere right on the spot where doctor and patient meet and also that the images are interpreted directly by the clinical doctor or GP. The number of diagnoses that can be reached in this context is limited only by the skills and ultrasound experience of the scanning doctor. With the optimum setting, patients will experience better quality of healthcare right from the first visit to their family doctor. Waiting time will be substantially reduced for a number of conditions and diseases and earlier diagnosis with potentially higher cure rate and less suffering will result from this. The only caveat is that ultrasound scanning is strongly operator dependent and thus there is high inter-operator variation. The single serious risk connected with ultrasound scanning is poor education. Lack of competence sooner or later will lead to neglected disease or over-diagnosis, both with potentially significant negative consequences for the patient and society economy.
This is the main reason for setting up the present course and for strongly stimulate to continued education for ultrasound GPs in Faroe Islands – and actually everywhere in the world. In WFUMB we have a motto: US4All, and we mean this in its broadest sense as in for ALL healthcare providers – but only if adequate education is following along.
It is with great expectations and utmost pleasure that the leadership of WFUMB has chosen the beautiful Faroe Islands as venue for our last Executive Board and Education Committee meetings during my term as WFUMB President. WFUMB has it as our mission to help spread medical ultrasound to every corner of the world and we are happy to provide a strong support for this first ever dedicated POCUS course in Faroe Islands.
For me personally, Faroe Islands, has an additional importance and it is a huge pleasure to run an ultrasound course and a WFUMB board meeting exactly at this spot on our planet. Born to a Faroese father and Danish mother I am said to be half Faroese and half Danish but actually I don’t feel like half of anything. In my heart I have an unconditioned love for both Faroe Islands and for Denmark and I consider myself full Faroese and full Danish. I grew up in Denmark with Copenhagen under my feet but my father planted his unlimited love of Vágur, his hometown, in my mind and the feeling of Faroe Islands in my self-understanding. My father wrote poems to alleviate his helpless love for his home country – one of them is reprinted in Faroese below:”
|Eg elski teg, Vágsbygd, um várið,
tá tjøldur ljóma um bø og báru.
|Eg elski eitt droymandi vetrarkvøld
– hugtikin stara á stjørnufjøld
|Eg elski teg, heimbygd, á summartíð,
tá sóleygað brandar um bygd og líð.
|Fagrast eru Føroyar mær í huga
við glerstoyttum tindum
|Eg elski um heystið við døggvátan bøkk
kvirrur at líta á áarløk.
|– í bleiktrandi norðlýsisloga.|
The Ultrasound Update 2019 will bring in total 53 medical professionals from all over Scandinavia to Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.
The course program is available here.
World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB) https://wfumb.info
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