Enhancing Patient Experiences: The Power of AIDET in Ultrasound Imaging


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In healthcare, providing an excellent patient experience is of utmost importance. Every single interaction a patient has with a medical facility shapes their perception of the quality of care they receive. 

This is where ultrasound professionals come in.

As medical professionals, we have a critical role to play in ensuring diagnostic accuracy and providing a positive and comforting experience to our patients. 

One effective tool that has proven to be invaluable in achieving this goal is AIDET.

AIDET stands for Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, and Thank You. By implementing the AIDET framework, we can establish a connection with our patients, set clear expectations, and ensure that they feel informed and empowered throughout the ultrasound process. Overall, AIDET is an excellent approach that helps us provide high-quality care and improve the overall patient experience.

In this article, I’ve got:

Would AIDET have helped?

Let me share a story with you where AIDET would have really changed a patient’s perception. 

A patient called to complain that an ultrasound tech didn’t do a very good job on their thyroid exam. When asked for more details,  the patient said I’ve had my thyroid looked at before. 

The first time, the tech was really thorough, and the exam was at least 25 minutes.  This time, my exam only lasted for 10 minutes at most! How could they have seen everything? 

They clearly rushed through it.

The manager fielding the call asked for some time to take a look into it and said they would be in contact.  

Their research showed that the patient had received high-quality care and very similar imaging for both exams, but the biggest difference:

 A new sonographer did the first exam. 

The second was by a sonographer with over 20 years of experience

Would the patient have felt different if the sonographers had used AIDET? What if, during their introduction, they told the patient that they were “a new sonographer” or “have been scanning for many years?” How about if they had shared how long they thought (knowing their own skillset) the exam would take? 

What is AIDET?

AIDET is a communication framework that is used in healthcare settings to enhance the quality of care and improve patient satisfaction. It is an acronym that stands for five important elements of effective communication between healthcare providers and patients. 

A = Acknowledge

I = Introduce

D = Duration

E = Explanation

T = Thank You

Overall, AIDET is a powerful tool that helps healthcare providers build trust, reduce anxiety, and improve patient outcomes.


 Let’s take a closer look at these steps and some examples of what you can say

“Good morning/afternoon! Welcome to our ultrasound department. How are you feeling today?”


In the process of AIDET, the first step is to acknowledge the patient. This step is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire interaction. 

Tips for making the most of Acknowledge:

  • Make eye contact
  • Offer a warm greeting
  • Show genuine interest in the patient’s concerns or questions


Sonographers who do this establish a bond of trust and understanding with the patient from the very beginning of their ultrasound experience. By actively listening and empathizing with the patient,  we can create a safe and comfortable environment for them, which is essential for a positive healthcare experience.

“Good afternoon! I’m glad you’re here. We’re committed to providing you with the best care possible, so please don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything I can do to help during your ultrasound.”
“Hi there! I understand that coming in for an ultrasound can be a bit nerve-wracking. I’m here to help make this experience as comfortable as possible for you.”
“Hello, [Patient’s Name]. Thank you for coming in today. I see from your chart that you’re here for an abdominal ultrasound. Is there anything specific you’re concerned about or any questions you have before we get started?”

“Hello, I’m [Your Name], and I’m relatively new here. I recently completed my training and am excited to be part of the ultrasound team. I’ll be performing your ultrasound today, and I want to assure you that I’ve been thoroughly trained to provide you with the best care possible.”


Next, it’s important to introduce ourselves and explain our role in the ultrasound procedure. 

Tips for tackling Introduce:

  • Provide your name and credentials
  • Introduce other members of the health care team that might be in the procedure
  • Share the names and experiences of the team during a hand-off
  • Manage up

Providing our name and credentials helps to establish credibility and instill confidence in the patient. Additionally, we should introduce any other members of the healthcare team who will be involved in the ultrasound process, ensuring transparency and collaboration throughout the patient’s journey.

Managing up yourself can sometimes be difficult, but it will really help the patient have more confidence in your skills. Tell the patient how long you’ve been scanning for, refer to yourself as a registered sonographer, and talk highly of your peers.

“I’m [Your Name], and I’ve been working as an ultrasound technologist for [number] years. It’s a pleasure to meet you and assist you with your ultrasound today. Rest assured, you’re in experienced hands, and I’ll do everything I can to ensure a smooth and accurate procedure.”
“Good morning! I’m [Your Name], and I’ve recently joined the ultrasound department. While I may be new to this role, I’m dedicated to ensuring your ultrasound experience is as comfortable and efficient as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”
“My name is [Your Name], and I’ve been performing ultrasounds for quite some time now. I’ve seen a wide range of cases and am confident in my ability to provide you with high-quality imaging. If there’s anything specific you’d like to know or discuss before we begin, feel free to ask.”
“I’d like to introduce you to [Name of Colleague], who will be taking over from here. [Colleague’s Name] is a skilled sonographer and will be responsible for reviewing the images and providing any further insights or recommendations.”

“Just to give you an idea of the timeline for today’s ultrasound, it typically takes around 30 to 60 minutes from start to finish. I’ll work diligently to complete the procedure as efficiently as possible without compromising on the quality of the images. If you have any time constraints or specific concerns, please let me know.”


It is important to ensure that the patient undergoing an ultrasound procedure is comfortable and at ease. 

Tips for addressing duration:

  • Tell the patient how long the test will take
  • Update the patient on the progress of the exam
  • Tell the patient how long the results will take
  • Keep the patient updated on wait times if you’re running behind

One way to achieve this is by informing the patient about the expected duration of the procedure. This helps manage their expectations and reduces anxiety. It is also beneficial to provide regular updates on the progress of the procedure to further reassure the patient and enhance their overall experience. This approach can help the patient feel more in control and promote a sense of trust between the patient and the healthcare team. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the patient feels supported and cared for throughout the ultrasound procedure.

“The ultrasound procedure typically takes around 30 minutes to complete. However, this can vary depending on the specific type of exam we’re performing and any additional images we may need to capture. I’ll keep you updated on our progress throughout the appointment.”
“I want to give you an idea of what to expect in terms of timing for your ultrasound today. On average, these appointments usually last between 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the complexity of the exam. I’ll do my best to ensure we move through the process efficiently while still capturing all the necessary images.”
“I just wanted to give you an update on our schedule. We’re currently running about 20 minutes behind, so it will be a little while longer before we can get started with your ultrasound. I apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your flexibility. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to let me know.”
“Your ultrasound appointment is scheduled for approximately 45 minutes today. This includes the time for preparation, the actual imaging procedure, and any post-processing that may be required. I’ll make sure to keep you informed about how we’re progressing as we go along.”

“Let me explain a bit more about the procedure itself. During the exam, I’ll apply a warm gel to your skin in the area we’ll be scanning. This gel helps the ultrasound probe make better contact with your skin and allows us to obtain clearer images. I’ll then gently move the probe over the area of interest to capture the necessary images. Throughout the process, I’ll communicate with you and guide you through any positional changes that may be needed. If you have any discomfort or questions at any point, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”


Among the five key elements, providing a clear and concise explanation of the ultrasound procedure is perhaps the most critical step in the process. 

Tips on covering explanation:

  • Describe what the goal of the exam is
  • Share what the patient can expect during the exam
  • Remind them how this is part of their overall care plan
  • Use straightforward, non-medical, language

To ensure that the patient understands and feels comfortable with the ultrasound examination, the healthcare provider should describe what the patient can expect during the exam, including the duration of the procedure, any preparatory steps they may need to take, and the purpose of the ultrasound in their overall care plan. In addition, using simple and straightforward language instead of medical jargon can help the patient grasp the information and feel empowered to ask questions.

By taking the time to explain the ultrasound procedure thoroughly, healthcare providers can help alleviate any anxieties or concerns the patient may have and ultimately improve their overall experience.

“Before we begin the ultrasound, I want to provide you with a brief overview of what will happen during the procedure. First, I’ll ask you to change into a gown and lie down on the examination table. I’ll then position the ultrasound probe on your skin and apply a small amount of gel to the area we’ll be scanning. The gel may feel cool at first, but it quickly warms up. As I move the probe over your skin, we’ll be able to see real-time images of the structures inside your body on the monitor. The entire process is painless and non-invasive, and you’ll be able to resume your normal activities afterward. If you have any questions about the procedure or anything else, please feel free to ask.”

“Thank you for choosing our facility for your ultrasound today, Mrs. Johnson. It’s been a pleasure assisting you, and I appreciate your cooperation throughout the procedure. If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Take care, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.”

Thank You:

It is important for us to acknowledge the patience and trust that a patient shows by choosing our facility for their ultrasound procedure.

Tips for covering thank you:

  • Express gratitude for them selecting us
  • Simple and heartfelt
  • Give them another chance to ask any questions
  • Repeat this step after the exam as well

We should make it a point to express our gratitude to them for selecting us as their healthcare provider. A simple yet heartfelt thank you can go a long way in making the patient feel valued and appreciated.

In addition to expressing our gratitude, we should also assure the patient that we are available to address any questions or concerns they may have. It is crucial to make the patient feel comfortable and confident in the care they will receive before, during, and after the ultrasound procedure. Hence, we should encourage patients to voice any queries or doubts, and we will do our best to address them efficiently.

Overall, expressing gratitude and offering reassurance are simple but effective ways to make the patient feel at ease and valued. It is essential to maintain a patient-centric approach and ensure that we provide them with the highest quality of care and service.

“I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to you for allowing me to perform your ultrasound today. Your patience and cooperation made the procedure run smoothly, and I truly appreciate it. If there’s anything else we can assist you with, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Wishing you all the best.”
“Thank you for trusting us with your care today. Your comfort and well-being are always our top priorities, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to assist you with your ultrasound. If you have any follow-up questions or need further assistance, please feel free to contact us. Have a great day ahead.”
“I want to express my heartfelt thanks to you for being such a cooperative and understanding patient during your ultrasound appointment. Your positive attitude made my job easier, and I’m grateful for your cooperation. If there’s anything else we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask. Take care, and have a wonderful day.”
“Thank you for choosing our facility for your healthcare needs. Your trust in our team means a lot to us, and I want to express my gratitude for allowing us to perform your ultrasound today. If there’s anything else you need or any questions you have, please feel free to reach out. Wishing you all the best in your health journey.”
Incorporating the AIDET framework in our practice is a simple yet effective way to provide patient-centered care, improve patient outcomes, and create a positive healthcare experience. Remember, a little AIDET goes a long way in making a big difference in the lives of our patients.

Is A Sonography Career Right for You?

It’s no secret that sonographers are paid very well for their skills. Few (if any) imaging careers are more tech-dependent than ultrasound. To enjoy the independent aspects of a career in sonography, a person typically has these traits:

  • Independent & Autonomous: Sonographers often manage workflow independently, make quick decisions about imaging techniques, and adapt to each patient’s unique anatomy to obtain the best possible diagnostic images.
  • Self-Reliant: Sonographers need to troubleshoot technical challenges, optimize image quality, and interpret preliminary findings to ensure the physician has the information needed for a diagnosis.
  • Flexibility & Adaptability: Every patient and every scan is unique. Sonographers need to tailor their approach based on the patient’s age, body type, and the specific area being examined. Emergency situations may also occur, requiring quick thinking and prioritization of tasks.
  • Strong Initiative: Sonographers who anticipate the physician’s needs by capturing a comprehensive set of images and identifying potential areas of concern provide invaluable support to the diagnostic process.
  • Comfortable with Risk: While sonography is a non-invasive procedure, sonographers deal with patients’ health concerns. They must be comfortable making judgment calls about images and recognizing when to seek guidance from a supervising physician, especially in complex or critical cases.

Sonographers are independent by nature

 No matter where you work, the work of a sonographer is typically done solo in the scan room.  

  • Masters of Our Domain: Think about it. We operate highly specialized equipment, interpret complex anatomical data, and communicate critical findings directly to physicians. 
    • Our knowledge base is vast and our skills are honed through years of education and practice. We are the experts in our field, entrusted with a high level of autonomy.

Direct Patient Care: From the moment a patient walks in, we are often their primary point of contact. We explain the procedure, answer their questions, and strive to create a comfortable and safe environment. This direct patient interaction is a cornerstone of our practice and a source of immense professional satisfaction.

Sonographers are also interdependent by necessity

Yet, no matter where you work, there is always a team of professionals that make our job possible. 

  • Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: While we shine brightest in the scanning room, let’s not forget the village behind every successful sonographer. We rely on:
    • Other sonographers: Unless you really are the only sonographer on staff, a team of sonographers is usually needed to cover patient volume. Working in a larger sonography department at a hospital is a good idea for new graduates who might still need some guidance.
    • Referring Physicians: They trust us with their patients, providing clinical context and guidance.
    • Radiologists/Cardiologists/Perinatologists/Vascular Surgeons/Other Advanced Practioners: Our partners in interpretation, collaborating to ensure accurate diagnosis.
    • Nurses and Support Staff: Seamless patient flow and a well-run department are essential to our success.
    • Engineers, IT, and BioMed: Maintaining our equipment and developing new technologies empowers us to do what we do best.
  • Lifelong Learning: The field of sonography is ever-evolving. Staying current with new technologies, research, and best practices requires continuous learning through conferences, journals, and professional organizations. We rely on this shared knowledge and collaboration to provide the best possible care.
    • ESP Ultrasound loves being part of this team and making sure we support sonography professionals outside of the scan room. 

Finding Balance: Thriving in the Sonography Ecosystem

Recognizing this interplay of independence and interdependence is key to our professional fulfillment and growth. Here’s how we can leverage both:

  • Honing Our Craft: Continue to master your technical skills, deepen your anatomical knowledge, and stay updated on advancements in ultrasound technology. Our expertise is our power.
  • Communication is Key: Foster strong communication with referring physicians and radiologists. Clearly articulate your findings, actively participate in case discussions, and be open to feedback. This collaborative approach enhances diagnostic accuracy and patient care.
  • Building Bridges: Cultivate strong relationships with nurses, technologists, and support staff. Acknowledge their contributions, communicate effectively, and advocate for a positive and supportive work environment. A cohesive team elevates everyone’s performance.
  • Embrace Mentorship: Whether you’re a seasoned sonographer or just starting out, embrace mentorship in both directions. Share your knowledge and experience while actively seeking guidance from those who have walked the path before you.

The Future is Interconnected

As technology advances at breakneck speed, blurring the lines between disciplines, the interconnected nature of healthcare will only intensify. Telemedicine, artificial intelligence, and remote diagnostics are already reshaping the landscape.

With our unique blend of technical prowess, patient interaction skills, and adaptability, sonographers are perfectly positioned to thrive in this evolving environment. By embracing our independence while recognizing the essential role of collaboration, we can continue to provide exceptional patient care and shape the future of our profession.

So, let’s celebrate the paradox. Let’s be the independent experts, the skilled communicators, the team players who drive excellence in patient care. Because in sonography, as in life, we are at our best when we stand strong, together.