In the effort to keep patients’ hearts healthy and strong, Oaklawn Hospital’s Echocardiology Lab has attained national accreditation, reflecting the highest standards of technical excellence.
“For a hospital this size, it’s not common to have this kind of recognition,” said Jess Kingston, director of Oaklawn’s Cardiopulmonary Department.
The Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL), the only accrediting organization offering echocardiography accreditation, issued the distinction in early December.
Kingston and his five-member staff worked intensely to meet the criteria of precision and quality required by the ICAEL, whose officials examined records provided by lab staff to check whether they met the organization’s standards.
“It’s been a 14-month process – arduous, to say the least,” Kingston said. “So, I’m very excited about this. Every member of the staff was very involved in the process. They all worked very hard.”
Echocardiography is a non-invasive procedure for examining the heart through high-frequency sound waves, similar to ultrasound procedures common before childbirth. The technique permits a sonographer to see all four chambers of the heart, the heart valves, the great blood vessels and the sac around the heart.
Oaklawn’s chief cardiologist praised the quality of the work done by the hospital’s Echo Lab staff.
“It’s the best I’ve seen,” said Dr. Farid Zayed, Cardiac Director of Oaklawn Hospital’s Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center, adding that Oaklawn’s equipment is state-of-the-art.
“This certification requires technicians who are experienced and professionally certified – people who have the specialized training to ensure the best quality,” Zayed said.
“Receiving such a certification is a great achievement for our staff,” Kingston said. “It reinforces their commitment to giving excellent personal care to the patients they serve. It also reflects Oaklawn’s vision of providing personalized, high-quality care and adds to our culture of excellence.”
More than 500,000 lives are lost in the United States each year through such conditions as heart disease and stroke. Echocardiography is an important tool in reducing those numbers, Kingston said.
An accurate diagnosis based on echocardiography relies on such factors as the skill of the sonographer, the type of equipment used, training and knowledge of the interpreting physician and quality-assurance measures – and such measures are all-important in determining the outcome of the accreditation procedure, he said.
Program certification is valid for three years. More information about the accrediting agency is available at intersocietal.org/echo.