By: Trisha Reo, RVT, RDMS
Achieving and maintaining accreditation status
As the Technical Director of Vascular Ultrasound Services at my facility, I have personally experienced the tedious processes of achieving and maintaining accreditation status. Achieving vascular lab accreditation status in ultrasound requires compliance with requirements regarding ultrasound image quality and consistency, exam protocols, quality assurance and continuing medical education. In my professional opinion, ultrasound lab accreditation is a necessary evil that ensures quality diagnostic care and improves patient outcomes. Professional societies, such as the SDMS, agree that accreditation is a staple of a quality diagnostic ultrasound lab (here is the link to an excellent article on accreditation). Although this process can be overwhelming if you are new to it, the ultrasound resources you need to be successful are readily available to you. Read on for some hints and helpful suggestions to get you better prepared.
Five Steps to a Successful Accreditation Application:
- Download or request a copy of the application requirements (visit AIUM, ACR, or Intersocietal ). This is your road map. Review it, learn it, know it, and follow it! If you do each step in this application, you are on the road to success!
- Download and implement the suggested professional ultrasound exam guidelines from the website of the organization you are applying for accreditation with. If you have any trouble locating these guidelines, call the organization and ask for assistance in obtaining these. And remember, these are suggested ultrasound protocols! You do not have to follow them verbatim but your protocol should at least include the listed ultrasound images.
- Designate a physician to be your lab’s Medical Director and involve them. It is important to seek and consider their professional opinion throughout this process!
- Communicate the ultrasound guidelines, CME requirements and expectations during this process to your technical staff. This will alleviate any confusion they may have about the changes the department is making. Have multiple CME resources available to them to encourage compliance. Visit Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute for access to multiple online and textbook CME resources.
- Submit an application that reflects only your best work and be sure it is organized. Remember, the application you submit will represent your facility and department, so make sure your application highlights your labs strengths and abilities!
Don’t be afraid to call or email the organization you are seeking accreditation from if you have any questions or find yourself lost during the process. They are there to help you in any way they can.
Good luck and happy scanning!