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E-learning in ultrasonography: a web-based approach
  1. Emilio Filippucci1,
  2. Gary Meenagh2,
  3. Alessandro Ciapetti1,
  4. Annamaria Iagnocco3,
  5. Allister Taggart2,
  6. Walter Grassi1
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
  2. 2Department of Rheumatology, Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast, UK
  3. 3Medical Therapy Department, Rheumatology Unit, Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor W Grassi
    Cattedra di Reumatologia, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ospedale “A. Murri”, Via dei Colli, 52, Jesi (Ancona) 60035, Italy; walter.grassi{at}


Objective: To propose e-learning methods that address the fundamental problems related to sonographic training in rheumatology.

Methods: The project was designed for rheumatologists with strong motivation to learn ultrasound. A modular approach was constructed, consisting of a basic 3-day residential course, followed by a 6-month period of web-based tutoring, and culminating in a final 2-day residential course with a formal assessment of competency.

Results: The website ( was accessed by all 60 participants. A mean of 20 (range 10–80) log-on sessions were registered for each participant, and a mean of 250 min (range 60–600 min) of web access was recorded. A total of 163 sonographic images were submitted by 18 (30%) participants. The majority of the images focused on the following anatomical areas: shoulder 49 (30%), hand 34 (21%) and knee 20 (12%). A total time investment of approximately 14 h was made by the US tutors over the 6-month period for interaction with the participants.

Conclusions: The e-learning methods described in this report represent the first attempt to adopt a novel technique to circumvent several of the inherent barriers to the many facets of teaching musculoskeletal ultrasound to a wide audience.

  • MCQ, multiple-choice question
  • US, ultrasonography

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  • Funding: This study was supported by a grant from Abbott Laboratories (Campoverde, Italy).

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Published Online First 9 March 2007