BELLEVILLE – HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital has recently been granted a three-year term of accreditation in echocardiography in the areas of Adult Transthoracic and Adult Stress by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission.
An echocardiogram is considered a safe, non-invasive procedure used to examine the heart and potentially diagnose problems. It uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to literally see all four chambers of the heart, the heart valves, the great blood vessels entering and leaving the heart, as well as the sac around the heart. Information obtained through echocardiography examinations is helpful to physicians in diagnosing a variety of conditions related to heart disease and disorders of the heart and blood vessels.
Accreditation by the IAC means that St. Elizabeth’s echocardiography (Echo) lab has undergone a thorough review of its operational and technical components by a panel of experts. The IAC grants accreditation to those facilities that are found to be providing quality patient care, in compliance with national standards through a comprehensive application process including detailed case study review.
While early detection of life threatening heart disorders and other diseases is possible through the use of echocardiography procedures, there are many aspects 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 critical to quality patient testing.
“IAC accreditation serves as a ‘seal of approval’ that our patients can rely on as an indication of high quality care,” noted Bonita Schnieder, Director of Cardiovascular Services at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. “Under the direction of Dr. Regina Chiu of Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants and Medical Director of the Echo Lab at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, we are privileged to offer region-leading heart care and we continue to work diligently to offer the best outcomes possible.”
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. Echocardiography accreditation is required in some states and regions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and by some private insurers. However, patients should remain vigilant in making sure that their echocardiography procedures are performed within accredited facilities, because for many facilities accreditation remains a voluntary process. The IAC encourages all patients who are scheduled for a Echocardiography procedure to learn more by visiting www.intersocietal.org/echo/main/patients.htm.
St. Elizabeth’s has been named a Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospital in the country, by Truven Health Analytics for three consecutive years. St. Elizabeth’s is also a partner of the nationally recognized Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants, the largest group of cardiologists in the tri-state region who staff the Prairie Heart Institute at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital along with a network of community-based hospitals offering cardiovascular programs.