Seal of Ap­proval for Echo-Lab

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

The Echocar­dio­g­ra­phy Lab at North Coun­try Hos­pi­tal has re­ceived a three-year term of ac­cred­i­ta­tion from the In­ter­so­ci­etal Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Com­mis­sion (IAC) for Adult Transtho­racic Echocar­dio­g­ra­phy. The IAC ac­cred­i­ta­tion is re­garded as a “seal of ap­proval’ that pa­tients can rely on as a bea­con that the fa­cil­ity has been care­fully cri­tiqued on all as­pects of it’s op­er­a­tions. The IAC grants ac­cred­i­ta­tion only to those fa­cil­i­ties that are found to be pro­vid­ing qual­ity pa­tient care in com­pli­ance with na­tional stan­dards through a com­pre­hen­sive ap­pli­ca­tion process. Early de­tec­tion of life threat­en­ing heart dis­or­ders and other dis­eases is pos­si­ble through the use of echocar­dio­g­ra­phy pro­ce­dures per­formed within hos­pi­tals, out­pa­tient cen­ters and physi­cians’ of­fices. While th­ese tests are help­ful, there are many facets that con­trib­ute to an ac­cu­rate di­ag­no­sis based on echocar­dio­g­ra­phy test­ing. The skill of the echocar­dio­g­ra­phy sono­g­ra­pher per­form­ing the ex­am­i­na­tion, the type of equip­ment used, the back­ground and knowl­edge of the in­ter­pret­ing physi­cian and qual­ity as­sur­ance mea­sures are each cru­cial to qual­ity pa­tient test­ing. In or­der for an echocar­dio­g­ra­phy lab to earn ac­cred­i­ta­tion, they must un­dergo a re­view of its op­er­a­tional and tech­ni­cal com­po­nents. They must meet or ex­ceed many strin­gent guide­lines in­clud­ing cre­den­tials and ed­u­ca­tion of the staff, the con­di­tion and main­te­nance of the fa­cil­ity, safety stan­dards, and ad­min­is­tra­tive prac­tices. The sec­ond part of the process is the sub­mis­sion of case stud­ies for re­view by the Board of Di­rec­tors of the IAC. The pur­pose of the case study re­view is to en­sure a high stan­dard of qual­ity ex­ams and pa­tient care. All as­pects of the re­view are con­fi­den­tial. “This rig­or­ous process is vol­un­tary,” com­mented Dr. Andy Torkel­son, “but the staff is always striv­ing to make our car­diac ul­tra­sound lab stand above the rest. This is a real honor to work in one of only three ac­cred­ited hos­pi­tal car­diac labs in the state of Vermont. Al­though this is an im­mense ac­co­lade for North Coun­try Hos­pi­tal and the Echo Lab, it is noth­ing new. They have con­sis­tently ap­plied for and re­ceived IAC ac­cred­i­ta­tion since 2001. “We first ob­tained the ac­cred­i­ta­tion in 2001 and we have con­tin­ued the prac­tice by

un­der­go­ing a thor­ough re­view of the car­diac ul­tra­sound lab­o­ra­tory’s op­er­a­tional and tech­ni­cal com­po­nents by a panel of ex­perts ev­ery three years” said Bev Gage, sono­g­ra­pher and tech­ni­cal direc­tor of the Echo Lab. IAC ac­cred­i­ta­tion is widely re­spected within the med­i­cal com­mu­nity, as il­lus­trated by the sup­port of the na­tional med­i­cal so­ci­eties re­lated to Echocar­dio­g­ra­phy, which in­clude physi­cians and sono­g­ra­phers. When sched­uled for an echocar­dio­g­ra­phy pro­ce­dure, pa­tients are en­cour­aged to in­quire about the ac­cred­i­ta­tion sta­tus of the fa­cil­ity where the exam will be per­formed. For a com­plete list of IAC ac­cred­ited fa­cil­i­ties, visit: http://www. in­ter­so­ci­etal.org/echo/main/lab_list.htm.

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