Study shows that ultrasound accreditation improves the quality of ultrasound practice

July 21, 2004

American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) accreditation increases the quality of ultrasound practice, according to an article published in the August 2004 issue of the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine. The article, "The Accreditation of Ultrasound Practices: Impact on Compliance With Minimum Performance Guidelines," by Alfred Z. Abuhamad et al, concludes that "ultrasound accreditation adds value to the practice by improving compliance with AIUM minimum standards and guidelines for the performance of ultrasound examinations."

This study sought to determine the effectiveness of AIUM accreditation in improving compliance with standards and guidelines for the performance of obstetric and gynecologic ultrasound examinations. A random sample of consecutive AIUM accreditation applications from practices that successfully completed an initial accreditation cycle and a reaccreditation cycle 3 years later was reviewed. A second list of applications from practices that recently completed first-time accreditation was also reviewed as a control group.

Practices applying for AIUM accreditation are required to submit ultrasound case studies for review. Scoring of case studies is designed to reflect the degree of compliance with the minimum criteria for a complete examination as published by the clinical standards and practice guidelines of the AIUM. Scores of case studies from the selected reaccreditation applications were compared with the scores they received at the time of their initial accreditation. Scores from the control group also were compared.

Individual obstetric case studies and the average of all obstetric and gynecologic case studies showed highly significant improvement with the reaccreditation application compared with the initial accreditation application. The proportion of practices successfully meeting obstetric and gynecologic AIUM accreditation requirements improved significantly on reaccreditation (obstetric: 57.3% for accreditation, 86.6% for reaccreditation; gynecologic: 60% for accreditation, 91.9% for reaccreditation). Furthermore, reaccreditation scores were significantly higher than scores of recent first-time applications for obstetric case studies as well as scores of the average of obstetric and gynecologic case studies. According to Abuhamad et al, "This improvement should translate into an enhancement of the quality of ultrasound practice."

The AIUM established voluntary accreditation of ultrasound practices in the United States and Canada in 1996. Ultrasound practices seeking AIUM accreditation must show evidence of physicians' training in sonography, certification of sonographers performing ultrasound examinations, continuing medical education for physicians and sonographers, and the presence of protocols and procedures to ensure proper and safe practice of sonography. To date, 1300 sites have received AIUM accreditation.
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The Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, the official scientific journal of the AIUM, is a monthly peer-reviewed publication containing original articles on basic and clinical aspects of ultrasound, advances in the field, and techniques, as well as case reports, technical bulletins, literature reviews, and monthly continuing medical education self-study tests.

The AIUM is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of ultrasound in medicine and research through its educational, scientific, and professional activities. The AIUM has promoted the safe and effective use of ultrasound in clinical medicine for 50 years.

American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine

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