October 11, 2012 — With this month’s approval of the Standards and Guidelines for Advanced Cardiovascular Sonography by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), experienced cardiovascular sonographers have a new educational pathway for career advancement.
The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) is the initial organizational sponsor of the Committee on Accreditation for Advanced Cardiovascular Sonographer (CoA-ACS), the body that developed the standards, guidelines and curriculum for the Advanced Cardiovascular Sonographer (ACS) and will review program applications for accreditation. Achievement of the ACS designation will require advanced education from a CAAHEP accredited program.
“Patients will be better served by echocardiography labs using the services of advanced cardiovascular sonographers who have the education, training and experience to review echocardiographic examinations and provide the most accurate cardiac diagnostic information for physicians to treat patients,” said Michelle Bierig, MPH, RDCS, FASE, chair of the CoA-ACS. “Clinical practice will be enhanced by improvements to the quality of the examinations and by the availability of professionals who can assist with the teaching and incorporation of advancements in the field into daily practice. The ACS-credentialed professional will render a unique and essential service beyond technical performance, serving as a resource for difficult or advanced image acquisition.”
Fletcher Miller, M.D., FASE, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-chair of the CoA-ACS said, “Based on my experiences with the Mayo Clinic ACS model, the advanced cardiac sonographer designation significantly improves workflow while maintaining highest quality examinations for our patients.”
The position is not meant to assume the role currently held by physicians but rather complement the physician practice and increase efficiency. Other duties may include research or technology implementation.
Educational institutions may now apply to CoA-ACS to receive accreditation to provide this education for advanced cardiovascular sonographers. The advanced curriculum will include areas such as cardiovascular hemodynamics/physiology and pathophysiology, surgical and medical therapies, comparative imaging analysis, research methods and biostatistics, pharmacology and others, with complementary required clinical internship.