What does it mean to be an accredited vascular testing facility, and why should it matter to you? Learn more about the importance of accreditation and its affect on quality standards and protocols.
"Why do I need to repeat my ultrasound?"
"How is your test different from the test I had at my nursing home"
Vascular testing is an important, non-invasive, diagnostic tool that we use in the office. These tests help us diagnose your problem, monitor disease progression and help us to evaluate your condition after an intervention. An arterial or venous study performed at your nursing home should yield the same findings as one performed in our office but that is often not the case. Ultrasound studies are only as good as the lab that performs them and accreditation is an important marker for a quality lab.
The Intersocietal Accreditation Committee or the IAC was formed in 2008 in answer to a call for quality standards and protocols in the new world of ultrasound testing. Various practitioners were performing and billing for ultrasound tests without making appropriate diagnosis, treatment or follow up. To be accredited by the IAC means that the lab has passed a rigorous review of its practices and protocols “to ensure high quality patient care and to promote health care by providing a mechanism to encourage and recognize the provision of quality imaging diagnostic evaluations by a process of accreditation.” Through the accreditation process, facilities assess every aspect of daily operation and its impact on the quality of health care provided to patients. While completing the accreditation application, facilities often identify and correct potential problems, revise protocols and validate Quality Improvement (QI) Program (IAC website: http://www.intersocietal.org/). An IAC accredited Vascular Lab is overseen by a Medical Director (Robert Fox, MD). A Technical Director (David Perry, RVT) is responsible for the direct supervision of all the technical staff and the daily operations of the facility. All interpreting physicians (Richard Silva, MD, Shan Haider, MD, Jeffrey Wang, MD) and practicing technologists/sonographers (technical staff) must be adequately trained and experienced to interpret and perform noninvasive vascular testing respectively.
Accreditation may be received through many different organizations, however, most are radiology affiliated and do not meet the rigorous standards that are required for IAC accreditation. None are endorsed by as many of the prestigious organizations that look to the IAC for quality control including The American Heart Association, The American College of Surgeons and The Society of Vascular Surgery. Doctors Vascular Lab at Horizon has been fully accredited by the IAC since its inception in 2008.
What does this all mean for you, the patient? It means that when evaluating Vascular Testing Services, you should look for a lab that is fully accredited by the IAC.