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Sarah Ritzmann, Stephanie Baker, Marcus Peck, Tom E Ingram, Jane Allen, Laura Duffy, Richard P Steeds, Andrew Houghton, Andrew Elkington, Nina Bual, Robert Huggett, Keith Pearce, Stavros Apostolakis, Khalatabari Afshin and the British Society of Echocardiography Departmental Accreditation and Clinical Standards Committees with input from the Intensive Care Society

This article sets out a summary of standards for departmental accreditation set by the British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) Departmental Accreditation Committee. Full accreditation standards are available at www.bsecho.org. The BSE were the first national organisation to establish a quality standards framework for departments that support the practice of individual echocardiographers. This is an updated version which recognises that, not only should all echocardiographers be individually accredited as competent to practice, but that departments also need to be well organised and have the facilities, equipment and processes to ensure the services they deliver are of an appropriate clinical standard. In combination with individual accreditation, departmental accreditation lays down standards to help ensure safe and effective patient care. These standards supersede the 2012 BSE Departmental Accreditation Standards. Standards are set to cover all potential areas of practice, including transthoracic (level 2) echocardiography, transoesophageal echocardiography, stress echocardiography, training, and emergency (level 1) echocardiography. The emergency echocardiography standard is a new addition to departmental accreditation and has been developed with input from the Intensive Care Society.

Open access

Thomas E Ingram, Steph Baker, Jane Allen, Sarah Ritzmann, Nina Bual, Laura Duffy, Chris Ellis, Karina Bunting, Noel Black, Marcus Peck, Sandeep S Hothi, Vishal Sharma, Keith Pearce, Richard P Steeds, Navroz Masani and the British Society of Echocardiography Clinical Standards and Departmental Accreditation Committees

Background

Quality assurance (QA) of echocardiographic studies is vital to ensure that clinicians can act on findings of high quality to deliver excellent patient care. To date, there is a paucity of published guidance on how to perform this QA. The British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) has previously produced an Echocardiography Quality Framework (EQF) to assist departments with their QA processes. This article expands on the EQF with a structured yet versatile approach on how to analyse echocardiographic departments to ensure high-quality standards are met. In addition, a process is detailed for departments that are seeking to demonstrate to external bodies adherence to a robust QA process.

Methods

The EQF consists of four domains. These include assessment of Echo Quality (including study acquisition and report generation); Reproducibility & Consistency (including analysis of individual variability when compared to the group and focused clinical audit), Education & Training (for all providers and service users) and Customer & Staff Satisfaction (of both service users and patients/their carers). Examples of what could be done in each of these areas are presented. Furthermore, evidence of participation in each domain is categorised against a red, amber or green rating: with an amber or green rating signifying that a quantifiable level of engagement in that aspect of QA has been achieved.

Conclusion

The proposed EQF is a powerful tool that focuses the limited time available for departmental QA on areas of practice where a change in patient experience or outcome is most likely to occur.