Owensboro Health earns echocardiography accreditation
Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has earned a three-year echocardiography accreditation from the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission, certifying the health system’s capabilities in this diagnostic procedure.
According to a news release from the IAC, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital’s echocardiography accreditation covers the adult transthoracic category of that diagnostic procedure. Adult transthoracic echocardiography is a procedure that uses ultrasound waves to non-invasively map the heart creating a picture called a sonogram. This picture giving clinicians valuable imagery of the structure and function of a patient’s heart and surrounding blood vessels.
According to information provided by the IAC, echocardiography helps diagnose a wide range of heart problems and diseases. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States and the American Heart Association estimates that the cost for care related to these diseases was $503 billion in 2010.
Dr. Roshan Mathew, executive director of One Health Cardiology and the Owensboro Heart and Vascular Institute at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, said the accreditation is great news for the hospital because it helps patients know they are getting care that meets the highest standards.
“It's very important because it's an outside, independent agency that verifies the echo readings our cardiologists give are accurate and is acceptable to the standards elsewhere in major tertiary care centers,” Dr. Mathew said. “It really tells us that what we're doing is correct.”
Dr. Mathew also said the accreditation is extremely difficult to get at facilities like Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, because larger numbers of providers make for a much harder accreditation process.
“It's very difficult. In independent practices you only have one or two physicians that you have to coordinate. When you're doing thousands of echocardiographs in a hospital institution, you can imagine how difficult it is because they do a lot of checking on each of the physicians,” Dr. Mathew said.
But after years of preparation, Dr. Mathew said Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has finally completed the accreditation process.
“This has been something we've diligently been working on for at least the last two years,” Dr. Mathew said. “It's a long, arduous task and it's due to the efforts of all of our team.”
Manager of Electrodiagnostics Sara Abell said the accreditation was accomplished thanks to a team effort, with special recognition going to Sonja Wethington, who served as technical director for the echo accreditation.
One other person in particular who helped secure the accreditation was Becky Winternheimer, a sonographer who died before the accreditation process was completed. Abell said that Winternheimer’s work helped pave the way for the accreditation. Winternheimer died from kidney cancer before the accreditation process was completed.
“I call her the monarch of echosonography in Owensboro. She trained almost the entire echo community and helped pioneer it, along with Dr. (Mark) Abshier when we first started doing them,” Abell said. “She stayed behind the scenes and really made us what we are today. Becky is smiling down on us, and she would have been so proud that we made this achievement.”