Seal of Approval for Echo-Lab
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.