About the Process
Emergency ultrasound is the use of sonographic technology to diagnose, monitor, and treat medical conditions in the emergency setting. In the United States, emergency physicians have used bedside ultrasound to enhance patient safety and save countless lives for over 20 years. As the use of ultrasound has become mainstream in emergency medicine, a need has emerged to promulgate and support national standards for emergency ultrasound programs as detailed in the American College of Emergency Physicians’ policy statement, Ultrasound Guidelines: Emergency, Point-of-Care, and Clinical Ultrasound Guidelines in Medicine (PDF).
CUAP is administered by an independent board whose reviewers operate under the auspices of ACEP. As such, the accreditation organization understands emergency medicine and clinical bedside ultrasound. ACEP promotes guidelines for those practitioners who perform clinical, point-of-care ultrasound in the emergency setting. This accreditation system promotes the goals of quality, patient safety, communication, responsibility, and clarity regarding the use of emergency ultrasound.
This program includes standards for administration of an ultrasound program, education and training of health care providers, performing and interpreting ultrasound examinations, equipment management, transducer disinfection, image acquisition and retention, and confidentiality and privacy.
The process of accreditation will require submission of a completed application and the corresponding fee. Each institution will be expected to meet the following criteria:
- Every licensed health care provider using point-of-care ultrasound either meets ACEP credentialing guidelines or is in the process of meeting these guidelines.
- An emergency ultrasound coordinator/director must oversee the maintenance, education, and monitoring of the ultrasound program.
- The program must also meet minimum standards of continuous quality management (CQM).
- Each health care provider must complete a minimum amount of continuing medical education (CME) in each ultrasound credentialing cycle.
- All ultrasound equipment must meet state and federal guidelines and undergo regular maintenance and cleaning.
- A policy must be in place for infection control following the local institution's standards.
- Periodic review of each health care provider must be performed.
- Reports must be generated for ultrasound exams and be included in the medical record, and the images must be archived.
- Each institution should follow storage guidelines, respect patient confidentiality and HIPAA guidelines, and follow the ALARA Principle.
In summary, our accreditation system is designed to be clinician-relevant, bedside-focused, efficient, and complementary of current hospital processes and accreditation. Our system will evolve as the field of emergency ultrasound and emergency medicine change. Reviewers have met conflict-of-interest, privacy, and non disclosure policies of this entity.
We also realize that not all clinician-based ultrasound sites will initially meet these requirements. However, we believe that this process will facilitate improvement in processes and protocols that will improve the use of emergency ultrasound as a key component of delivering quality care to patients.