Development and Validation of an Assessment of Regional Anesthesia Ultrasound Interpretation Skills

Glenn E. Woodworth, Patricia A. Carney, Joshua M. Cohen, Sandy L. Kopp, Lindsey E. Vokach-Brodsky, Jean Louis E. Horn, Andres Missair, Shawn E. Banks, Nathan F. Dieckmann, Robert B. Maniker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Interpretation of ultrasound images and knowledge of anatomy are essential skills for ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks. Competency-based educational models promoted by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education require the development of assessment tools for the achievement of different competency milestones to demonstrate the longitudinal development of skills that occur during training. Methods A rigorous study guided by psychometric principles was undertaken to identify and validate the domains and items in an assessment of ultrasound interpretation skills for regional anesthesia. A survey of residents, academic faculty, and community anesthesiologists, as well as video recordings of experts teaching ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks, was used to develop short video clips with accompanying multiple choice-style questions. Four rounds of pilot testing produced a 50-question assessment that was subsequently administered online to residents, fellows, and faculty from multiple institutions. Results Test results from 90 participants were analyzed with Item Response Theory model fitting indicating that a 47-item subset of the test fits the model well (P = 0.11). There was a significant linear relation between expected and predicted item difficulty (P < 0.001). Overall test scores increased linearly with higher levels of formal anesthesia training, regional anesthesia training, number of ultrasound-guided blocks performed per year, and a self-rating of regional anesthesia skill (all P < 0.001). Conclusions This study provides evidence for the reliability, content validity, and construct validity of a 47-item multiple choice-style online test of ultrasound interpretation skills for regional anesthesia, which can be used as an assessment of competency milestone achievement in anesthesiology training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-314
Number of pages9
JournalRegional anesthesia and pain medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 11 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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