Dorchester General Hospital (DGH) has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in ultrasound imaging following a survey by the American College of Radiology (ACR). ACR awards accreditation to facilities that demonstrate achievement of high clinical practice standards after an evaluation by board certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. DGH has been accredited by ACR since 1996.
Physicians order ultrasounds to diagnose a wide range of medical conditions, including carotid artery disease, deep vein thrombosis, aneurysm, and diseases of the liver, kidney, gallbladder, thyroid, reproductive organs and breast.
An ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure performed for hospitalized patients and for individuals who come for outpatient testing. During the test, which lasts between 10 and 45 minutes, a specially trained diagnostic sonographer moves a wand-like probe across the patient’s body to pick up sound waves. The test measure how fast and efficiently blood flows throughout the body for vascular studies and detects disease processes in other areas of the body.
Debbie Patrone, RVT, RDMS, led DGH through its successful re-accreditation process. Patrone, who is a registered vascular technologist and a registered diagnostic medical sonographer, is the most experienced member of the DGH Radiology staff.
“Performing ultrasound testing is a challenge,” Patrone says. “Every person’s body can be different. The diagnostic sonographer must have an understanding of normal anatomy compared to specific disease states. We use this knowledge to create optimal images, which are interpreted by a radiologist to produce a complete report for the referring physician.”
Commenting on the accreditation process, Christian Evans, MD, chief of radiology for DGH, says, “Obtaining accreditation gives patients and their referring physicians a high level of confidence that they are receiving the highest quality images with which to make an accurate medical diagnosis.”
To get and maintain accreditation, ACR looks at every step that goes into producing an ultrasound image. Dr. Evans explains, “We must show that we produce quality images using the most up to date equipment. The surveyors also look at the education, experience and credentials of the sonographers who perform the tests and the radiologists who interpret them. On all levels, Dorchester General Hospital scored 100 percent, thanks to the competence and attention to detail that Debbie put into the accreditation process.”