CHANGE Intersocietal Accreditation Commission Echocardiography
data reflects a decade of change Contributed by Beverly L. Gorman, RDCS, IAC Echocardiography Director of Accreditation
In concert with its mission of “Improving Health Care Through Accreditation,” IAC Echocardiography’s primary purpose has and always will be to provide a method for health care suppliers to document the quality of care provided to patients. However, by collecting the information required to assess that quality, IAC possesses the largest repository of data for echocardiography facilities in the U.S. and is therefore able to serve a secondary role of examining and documenting trends in the field. As the IAC accreditation program is designed to apply to all settings where echocardiography procedures are performed and interpreted, from large university-based medical centers to small, one practitioner private offices, the standards and guidelines set forth outline minimal levels of quality, with accreditation being granted to facilities found to be in substantial compliance. Often, it is the IAC Standards that drive change throughout the field but there are also instances where the IAC makes adjustments to ensure that the program is reflective of both practice and technological advancements. This article will explore the significant changes to the Standards and the accreditation process and how those have impacted trends throughout the field, as well as changes incorporated by the IAC to reflect shifts occurring in echocardiography. 24 / / / Data Reflects a Decade of Change
The Field of Echocardiography Shows a Progressively Strong Commitment to Embracing the Concept of Accreditation
During the past decade, a significant increase in the number of facilities participating in the accreditation process has been driven by several factors. Support by the sponsoring organizations, including the ASE, has contributed to broad acceptance by the echocardiography community. Furthermore, health care suppliers’ desire to document their quality to both referring physicians and health care consumers and to be in compliance with payment policies have been strong drivers. In 2003, 623 adult facilities and 14 pediatric facilities, for a total of 901 sites, were accredited by the IAC Echocardiography (formerly ICAEL). These numbers have steadily increased and as of mid-2013, more than 3,100 echocardiography facilities were accredited at one or more facility locations for a total of 4,900 sites [Table 1]. It is expected that the number of sites will continue to increase as more facilities discover the value of accreditation and new payment policies with links to accreditation and reimbursement are adopted for echocardiography.