Online echocardiography programs

There are lots of ways to learn echo - reading textbooks, attending conferences and, of course, by gaining tuition from an expert sonographer. Online echocardiography programs can offer the advantages of all of these approaches plus more besides, with the added convenience of learning at your own pace in your home or workplace. An online echocardiography program can provide all the information content of a textbook, but with the additional benefit of access to multimedia materials. An online course may offer the ability to watch lectures and to network with colleagues, just like attending a conference. And an online course may contain tuition from some of the most experienced sonographers in the world. So let's take a look at the online courses that are available today...

123sonography

The 123sonography online echocardiography program, produced in cooperation with the Medical University of Vienna, offers an award-winning multimedia echo course which consists of 20 video lectures and over 800 echo examples and demonstrations. Importantly, the 123sonography course carries 32 continuing medical education credits, issued by the European Board for Accreditation in Cardiology (EBAC). The course can be accessed at http://123sonography.com/. First-time visitors can register for free access to a trial version of the course, allowing them to try out one of the video lectures and also to download one of the factsheets (each chapter is supported by a helpful downloadable factsheet which summarises all the key learning points). Each chapter is accompanied by a self-assessment quiz, and a CME certificate can be printed out on completion of the learning activity. The 123sonography site also contains an online atlas with over 6000 echo clips, an echo game to test your knowledge, and access to a blog and discussion forum.

ASEUniversity

The American Society of Echocardiography hosts the ASEUniversity, an online site which provides continuing medical education in echo (accessible at http://tinyurl.com/6vrqgny). There is access to live webinars (free for everyone) and to pre-recorded webcasts and companion activities that link in with the Journal of the ASE (available only to ASE members). ASE membership currently starts at $50 for sonography students. The ASE also has a relationship with E-Echocardiography (see below).

E-Echocardiography

The E-Echocardiography website, accessible via http://e-echocardiography.com, is currently focused on transesophageal echo (TEE) and has two main sections - iTEE (which an introduction to TEE aimed at non-cardiac anesthesiologists), and eTEE (which is an expanded expert course with over 800 pages of material). Additional features of the website include Echo of the Day and access to an image atlas, echo calculators and links to major guidelines. Some sample material is available for access free of charge; access to the iTEE component costs $69 (or $99 for combined eTEE/iTEE access).

British Society of Echocardiography

The education committee of the British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) has prepared a number of distance learning modules which are accessible via http://www.bsecho.org/education/distance-learning-modules/. Whilst these are not strictly 'online programs', they do provide an online resource of useful teaching materials which are freely accessible. There are currently 18 BSE distance learning modules, each of which consists of teaching text and an accompanying set of assessment questions. Whilst anyone can download the modules and questions, the assessment questions are intended for BSE members to test their knowledge and to apply for 'credits' for accreditation. The answers to the questions are made available for download once a module has 'expired', so the answers to the assessment questions are available for 17 of the 18 modules.

European Association of Echocardiography

A Basic Echocardiography Course, developed by Professor Andreas Hagendorff, is available online from the European Association of Echocardiography (EAE), and is accessible via http://tinyurl.com/7bodj3l. The course consists of 16 slide sets ('chapters'), comprising 1062 slides and 857 videos. The first four slide sets (covering the topics of Standardized Sectional Planes, Physics of Echo Imaging, Rheology of Blood Flow and Introduction to Doppler Echo) are accessible by anyone free of charge. The remaining slide sets, covering topics such as valvular disease and systolic/diastolic function, are restricted to EAE members only. Information about EAE membership, which starts at €35 for sonographers aged under 35 years and €110 for those aged over 35 years, are available on the website.