ECHO Program receives accreditation for high-quality technology and cardiac care

ECHO Program receives accreditation for high-quality technology and cardiac care

July 23, 2019 – Arnprior Regional Health’s Echocardiography (ECHO) Program has received full accreditation from the Cardiac Care Network as part of their new Echocardiography Quality Improvement (EQI) Program.

ARH sonographer Kelly Wilson gives patient Valerie Hobbs an ECHO exam.

An ECHO is an ultrasound of the heart that can detect structural abnormalities, issues with the function of the heart, or valve problems, for example. Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) performs approximately 1,200 ECHO exams annually for patients from Arnprior and surrounding areas. A family physician typically refers patients to ARH’s ECHO Program and if there are any abnormalities, patients are immediately referred to the Ottawa Heart Institute for a consultation with the appropriate specialist. If the patient is a candidate, they may return to ARH for telehealth cardiac rehab exercise program.

“Having the accredited ECHO Program verifies our quality services meet the regulatory standards of care,” said Vicki Hallas, Manager, Diagnostic Services & Ambulatory Care. “Our ECHO Program saves patients from travelling to a larger centre and from experiencing a longer wait time for the scan that can be months at other hospitals versus days or weeks at ARH.”

Valerie Hobbs, who lives in Arnprior, was referred by her family physician to ARH for an ECHO exam because she was experiencing chest pains and severe fatigue. Her wait time to have the exam was 12 days and she was pleased to not have the added stress of travelling to an out-of-town hospital.

The accreditation process began in 2016 when the new EQI Program launched. The rigorous process involved on-site visits to review patient cases, equipment, the team’s training and skills and examine the program’s processes.

ARH created a quality improvement plan based on the accreditors’ recommendations and requirements and made changes to the processes that have further strengthened its ECHO Program.

“We are fortunate to have state-of-the-art ECHO equipment that allows us to provide our patients with convenient access to the best ECHO technology and diagnostics that is provided at larger Ontario centres,” said Vicki. “Our program enables patients to move more quickly to the next level of cardiac care, if needed.”

ARH’s ECHO Program is led by a physician and two ECHO sonographers. Its next accreditation will be in 2022.

About Arnprior Regional Health

Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) is a progressive 105-bed organization that includes a fully accredited community hospital, nursing home, primary health care centre and extensive community programs. ARH is a regional hub with a strong history of providing exemplary care to the residents of West Ottawa, McNab/Braeside, Arnprior and Mississippi Mills. As your partner in health, ARH is committed to listening to and responding to meet the needs of those we serve, because together, we create a healthy community.

For more information:

Melissa McDermott

Communications Manager

Arnprior Regional Health

mmcdermott@arnpriorhealth.ca