ACEP19 in Denver, CO: Snow, Social Media and UltraSound

From October 26-30th, 2019, thousands of emergency physicians from all across the world descended upon Denver, Colorado for the annual American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP) Scientific Assembly.  Despite the below-freezing temperatures and the snow, the excitement and enthusiasm didn’t seem to waver.

ACEP never disappoints at the exhibition hall, where vendors come from all around to show the latest airway, ultrasound and medical equipment. This year, there was a huge premiere of a portable MRI. The demonstration showed someone able to get an MRI in likely an ED or ICU room, quickly, comfortably and with the full ability to be monitored.  This could revolutionize the way we care for patients in comprehensive stroke centers. A fear of emergency physicians is that when we send our patients to MRI, they are often far away from the emergency department. If the patient begins to crash, they are out of the way from our ability to intervene. A portable MRI could revolutionize patient care and safety.  

Another popular device was the transesophageal ECHO with holographic and 3D capabilities. TEE is on the cutting edge of ultrasound capabilities in the ED.  Many recent emergency medicine residency graduates likely have not had clinical experience in performing one. For the most part, ultrasound and critical care fellowship-trained physicians to do TEEs at the bedside during resuscitations. For most community physicians, performing TEE at the bedside is likely impractical. However, in academic environments, this device had the incredible capability to teach anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology to residents and students.


For the first time this year, I attended a procedural lab and I’m excited to bring back what I’ve learned to the bedside. Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia has been a skill of anesthesiologists for many years but is slowly making its foray into emergency medicine. The course was taught by faculty at Highland EM, with live and simulated models. I was able to learn how to easily perform several different types of blocks to give anesthesia for rib fractures, hip fractures and the arm for multiple different types of injuries. With the opioid crisis in full swing, performing nerve blocks under ultrasound guidance gives emergency physicians an extra tool to relieve pain, without addictive narcotics.

The lectures at ACEP are always popular and high quality, discussing the latest and greatest research. However, “How I Make a Difference with Social Media” with Amy Faith Ho, MD, Ryan Stanton, MD and Matthew Zuckerman, MD was likely one of the most interesting talks. The three physicians talked about their experiences with social media and being on TV and how it has impacted emergency medicine. With an increasing amount of physicians being active on social media, it’s important to remain professional, safe and HIPAA compliant. The three shared valuable advice on how to remain safe, how to increase followers, and how to start getting involved in social media. I appreciate that ACEP and other emergency physicians are embracing social media. It allows us to share with the public what it truly takes to serve patients and inspire others to follow in our footsteps.

With ACEP19 in the books, it’s obvious that the College continues to be on the cutting edge with innovation, technology, and education. The College is also making significant strides in advocating for diversity in EDs. Since the forming of the Diversity and Inclusion Section, activity has been robust and has fostered amazing relationships. ACEP continues to provide opportunities for other voices to be represented and hopefully have a Social Media committee soon.

I’m looking forward to ACEP20 in Dallas, TX!