The Process

Clinical physicians have used ultrasound to diagnose, monitor, and treat medical conditions in various clinical settings for almost 30 years. As this use of ultrasound has become more prevalent, a need has emerged to promote and support current standards for these clinical ultrasound programs as delineated by respective medical specialty societies and associations. Emergency medicine has been the leader in clinical ultrasound and has well-defined standards as detailed in the American College of Emergency Physicians policy statement, Ultrasound Guidelines: Emergency, Point-of-Care, and Clinical Ultrasound Guidelines in Medicine

CUAP operates as an independent board of clinical ultrasound experts under the umbrella of ACEP. As such, the accreditation organization understands the use of clinical ultrasound in various clinical settings and specialties and will assist your program in meeting the established standards. This accreditation system promotes the goals of quality, patient safety, communication, responsibility, and clarity regarding the use of clinical 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 program 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).
  • An education plan is required to be established for credentialed providers on an ongoing basis. Continuing medical education is encouraged to integrate into the practice of EM and is not required to be category 1. 
  • 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.

CUAP offers a mentoring process for developing programs through which we can share sample documents and help facilitate program development. If you are interested in CUAP mentorship to help develop processes for your program, please reach out to for further information. 

Other Important Ultrasound Links:

You may submit an online request to use copyright materials published by ACEP. All permission requests must be submitted online.

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