Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Illustrations and Diagram of WRMSD Injuries in Sonography
Your help is needed to launch Phase 2 of important new research on Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSDs) in sonography.
PLEDGE TO DONATE

Your generous donation will be restricted to and used for the purpose of supporting WRMSD research. Any restricted funding that remains at the end of Phase 2 Research will be reallocated to support future WRMSD or ergonomic research or projects.

FUND RESEARCH FOR GREATER INSIGHT INTO HOW TO PREVENT WRMSDs IN SONOGRAPHERS AND OTHER USERS OF ULTRASOUND IN HEALTHCARE.

Highly trained sonographers are a vital national healthcare resource supporting accurate and effective diagnosis by medical doctors across multiple specialties and sub-specialties. This next phase of research is critical to insights into halting the debilitating chronic pain and permanent disability affecting sonographers nationwide.

WRMSDs IN SONOGRAPHY ARE CAUSING PAIN AND SUFFERING FOR SONOGRAPHERS AND OTHER ULTRASOUND USERS

  • WRMSDs often impose a substantial personal toll on those affected since they may no longer be able to work or perform simple personal tasks and activities of daily living.1
  • More than 80% of sonographers scan in pain and, of those, 20% of sonographers suffer career-ending injuries.2
  • The onset of WRMSD symptoms occurs as early as six months from the start of employment.3

Prevention of musculoskeletal injuries in sonography is urgent.
Phase 2 research will give insight into next steps for sonographers’ and ultrasound users’ safety.

Kevin Evans photo

Kevin D. Evans, PhD, RT(R)(M)(BD), RDMS, RVT, FSDMS, FAIUM, is the lead investigator and a foremost authority on sonography and work-related musculoskeletal injuries. Evans’ extensive clinical practice has helped translate his basic research into direct benefits for people. His primary research focus is the development of musculoskeletal pathology – specifically, methodologies to mitigate work-related musculoskeletal disorders in sonography. Evans has received funding as lead investigator from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), both for large occupational safety and health (OSH) research projects (R01) and exploratory OSH research grants (R21). Evans formerly served as president of the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) and the SDMS Foundation and chair of the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, which will publish the completed research.

 
Shawn Roll photo

Shawn C. Roll, PhD, OTR/L, RMSKS, FAOTA, FAIUM worked with Dr. Evans to complete his dissertation on the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Roll’s extensive clinical practice as an occupational therapist informs his study of the relationships between musculoskeletal conditions of the arms and hands, sonographers’ work performance abilities, and outcomes in the workplace. In research as principal investigator, Dr. Roll has received funding from both NIOSH and the National Science Foundation. His federal funding and translational research contributed to his induction into the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Academy of Research in Occupational Therapy.

 
Carolyn Sommerich photo

Carolyn M. Sommerich, PhD, CPE, FHFES, who has served as mentor to both Drs. Evans and Roll, has had a distinguished scientific career, with a research focus on ergonomics and occupational biomechanics. She has pursued a special interest in intervention research to mitigate exposures and risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders and discomfort in healthcare, industry, and education. As a certified professional ergonomist and a highly funded principal investigator, she has had multiple NIOSH R01 grants. She is the president of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

 
Phase 1 Research
Phase 1 of the research led by Kevin Evans, PhD, RT(R)(M)(BD), RDMS, RVT, FSDMS, FAIUM, was entitled, “Documenting the progression of work-related musculoskeletal injuries and well-being in sonography: A longitudinal survey of ultrasound users.” It produced the following preliminary findings:
  • 86% of respondents reported experiencing musculoskeletal discomfort during or following their work shift that was directly attributed to work activities.
  • More than half of respondents reported experiencing discomfort in the neck, shoulders, hands/wrists with average rating of discomfort between 4 and 5 on a 10-point scale.
  • Only half of respondents reported engaging in ergonomic training at some point in their careers and one-third of those individuals reported the last training was more than five years ago.
The findings were obtained from 3,660 completed surveys. The profile of respondents was 88% percent female, median age was 48.6 years old, and most had at least one sonography credential (two-thirds were RDMS, half were RVT, and one-third were RDCS). The respondent cohort also included physicians who use ultrasound in their practice and represents one of the largest physician cohort responses to date in WRMSDs in sonography literature. Approximate frequencies by areas of work reported across respondents included 55% in vascular, 54% in OB/GYN, 48% percent in abdominal, 34% percent in cardiac (adult), and 26% in breast. Pediatric sonography was slightly less than 20%. Slightly fewer than 10% reported being in musculoskeletal, fetal cardiac, or pediatric cardiac settings as a primary area of practice. Integrative data analyses are underway to examine reports of discomfort, workplace policies and supports, work hours, and other factors within and across all areas of practice.
 
grandchallenge
WRMSD GRAND CHALLENGE ALLIANCE MEMBERS
  • American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
  • American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Inteleos
  • American Society of Echocardiography
  • Intersocietal Accreditation Commission
  • Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology
  • Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Society for Vascular Ultrasound
  • Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Phase 2 Research
Phase 2 of the research, entitled “Documenting the progression of work-related musculoskeletal injuries and well-being in sonography: A longitudinal survey of ultrasound users,” is funded by the SDMS Foundation in cooperation with the WRMSD Grand Challenge Alliance. It also will be led by Evans and focus on answering the following questions:
  • What is the longitudinal progression of acute to chronic work-related musculoskeletal injuries among all users of ultrasound?
  • Is it possible to identify the incidence of new-onset WRMSDs within ultrasound users?
  • Can WRMSDs within ultrasound users be qualified as acute or chronic conditions?
  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the pattern of work for sonographers and other users of ultrasound?
Anticipated outcomes of Phase 2 research include:
  • Publication of research to further the understanding of WRMSDs among sonographers and other users of ultrasound
  • Informing measures to address existing WRMSDs and prevent the formation of WRMSDs in users of ultrasound in healthcare
SUPPORT FOR PHASE 2 RESEARCH PLEDGED BY:
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American Society of Echocardiography Logo
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IAC Logo
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What You Can Do
  • Pledge to DONATE to support Phase 2 research into WRMSDs in sonography
  • Convey the urgent need for this research and its funding to other organizations and vendors who support sonographers and the ultrasound community
  • Distribute the SDMS’ resources on reducing WRMSDs in sonography

The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) Foundation, in cooperation with the WRMSD Grand Challenge Alliance, is seeking your financial support.
 
PLEDGE TO DONATE

Your generous donation will be restricted to and used for the purpose of supporting WRMSD research. Any restricted funding that remains at the end of Phase 2 Research will be reallocated to support future WRMSD or ergonomic research or projects.


SDMS Foundation Logo

The SDMS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, serves as grant administrator for funds contributed from various ultrasound-related organizations and vendors.


Notes:

  1. Murphy S. Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography 2017;33(5):354-369.
  2. David S. Importance of Sonographers Reporting Work-Related Musculoskeletal Injury: A Qualitative View. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography 2005;21(5):234-237.
  3. Muir M, Hrynkow P, Chase R, Boyce D, McLean D. The Nature, Cause, and Extent of Occupational Musculoskeletal Injuries Among Sonographers: Recommendations. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography 2004;20(5):317-325.