Honored to Serve
The Commission on Ultrasound works to advance the use of this important modality.
I appreciate this opportunity to share with the membership a bit about the activities and mission of the Commission on Ultrasound.
Our commission maintains the following active committees:
• The Committee on Human Resources deals with work force issues and collaborates with technologist and sonographer societies regarding midlevel providers;
• The Committee on Guidelines and Standards works collaboratively with multiple specialty and subspecialty societies to produce the guidelines and standards that are adopted by the College; and
• The Committee on Economics helps maintain the Ultrasound Coding User's Guide and opines on matters involving ultrasound reimbursement.
While our commission works on many important issues, it is a bit daunting to provide a complete summary of what our commission does. Ultrasound is a part of so many different practices, so we have interactions with many other ACR commissions, committees, and boards in the larger medical arena, such as the Commission on Education, the Commission on Breast Imaging, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) Board of Governors. We also work with the Commission on Quality and Safety toward accreditation of ultrasound laboratories.
The commission also participates in multidisciplinary initiatives that impact the practice of ultrasound around the country. We work with the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography to revise the Sonography Scope of Practice and Clinical Standards document. We collaborate with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, AIUM, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine to produce training and education documents regarding imaging in pregnancy. We are active in consensus conferences on the appropriate use of ultrasound for imaging (particularly the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound consensus conference on the use of ultrasound to follow adnexal cyst). Perhaps most importantly, we ensure that the documents written by these multispecialty organizations have appropriate qualifications for those interpreting the examinations.
Ultrasound, more than any other imaging modality, has been challenged in turf battles with many other medical professionals, both physician and non-physician.
Another important role of the Commission on Ultrasound is contributing content to websites such as Image Gently® and Image Wisely®, where we can explain the value of ultrasound as a screening exam, for example in women with pelvic pain or in children with suspicion of appendicitis. Read more about the situations in which ultrasound is an alternative to CT at http://bit.ly/USvsCT and http://bit.ly/USMedicalProfessionals.
Ultrasound, more than any other imaging modality, has been challenged in turf battles with many other medical professionals, both physician and non-physician. For example, hand-held ultrasound is a disruptive technology that has dramatically changed the manner in which patients are evaluated at the bedside. The commission monitors and addresses these issues, whenever feasible, to ensure that our patients receive high-quality care.
The complaint we frequently hear from members is that everyone wants to do ultrasound, but not everyone is doing it well. In response, the commission wrote a resolution on Point of Care Ultrasound. The resolution was sponsored by the Board of Chancellors and Council Steering Committee and was adopted at the 2013 AMCLC. (Read the resolution at http://bit.ly/USresolution.)
We can best serve our patients if we set a bar for quality. Our resolution states that 1) targeted point-of-care ultrasound can be useful as a limited bedside adjunct to the physical examination but is fundamentally different from comprehensive diagnostic ultrasound examinations, such as those ordered by clinicians and performed in radiology departments with interpretation by radiologists; 2) the ACR recognizes that training, credentialing, and ongoing quality assurance are vitally important for all health-care providers performing and interpreting sonographic examinations; and 3) the ACR believes that performing targeted point-of-care ultrasound examinations without formal training, adequate standards, and proper documentation can be detrimental to patient care and increases the risk of the patient receiving an incorrect diagnosis.
Often in ACR committees and commissions, you hear the phrase, "It is an honor to serve." I sincerely feel this is true. It is a privilege to work with volunteer radiologists, sonographers from around the country, and the staff of the ACR. The knowledge I have gained, the friendships I have made, and the opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile cause make the time spent a true privilege.
By Deborah Levine, MD, FACR, Chair, ACR Commission on Ultrasound