The history of Echocardiography over the past several decades is one of progressive technical development, occurring in tandem with increasing clinical relevance. It is now an essential component in the assessment and management of patients presenting with a wide variety of cardio - respiratory illness. It is also being increasingly used to identify patients who may benefit from an expanding array of medical and procedural therapies. These expanded applications have resulted in increasing financial impact, and a call from both physicians and providers for a more robust framework to ensure both quality and appropriate utilization.
What is an echocardiography laboratory?
For the purposes of The Standards, the term "echocardiographic laboratory" will be defined as a facility whose primary purpose is to provide echocardiographic examinations. An Echocardiographic Laboratory shall have a Medical Director and a Technical Director and may also have additional physicians and sonographers performing and/or interpreting transthoracic echocardiography. The facility may also perform stress or transesophageal echocardiography. Such facilities may vary greatly in size (single to multiple imaging systems), site (office, clinic, hospital, and/or mobile) and scope of examinations provided (inpatient, outpatient, and/or emergent services), but will be characterized by the following features:
- Provision of full transthoracic adult examinations.
- Acceptance of referrals for echocardiographic examinations.
- Space, equipment and procedures appropriate to provide such examinations.
- Engagement of appropriately trained personnel to carry out and assist with the provision of echocardiographic examinations.
- Engagement of appropriately trained physicians to interpret and supervise examinations.
- Recording and reporting of the results of those examinations.
Additional echocardiography services evaluated by CorHealth Ontario may include:
- Transesophageal echocardiography
- Stress echocardiography
Please note: the EQI Program evaluates the practice of complete echocardiographic examinations on adult patients and currently does not review the following echocardiography services:
- Pediatric echocardiography, inclusive of fetal echocardiography
- Intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography
- ICU transesophageal echocardiography