The purpose of the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) is “to ensure high quality patient care and to promote health care by providing a mechanism to encourage and recognize the provision of quality echocardiographic diagnostic evaluations by a process of voluntary accreditation.” Through the accreditation process, laboratories assess every aspect of daily operation and its impact on the quality of health care provided to patients. While completing the accreditation application, laboratories often identify and correct potential problems, revising protocols and validating quality assurance programs. Because accreditation is renewed every three years, a long-term commitment to quality and self-assessment is developed and maintained. Laboratories may use IAC accreditation as the foundation to create and achieve realistic quality care goals.
Designed to serve laboratories as an educational tool, IAC accreditation is made up of two crucial steps. First, laboratories conduct a detailed self-evaluation using the IAC Standards and the application. Completion of the application requires detailed information on all aspects of laboratory operation as well as the submission of actual case studies for review. The case studies are crucial in determining the laboratory’s compliance with the Standards, and are the basis for judgment of the quality of work that laboratories perform. Once the self-evaluation is completed, the documents and case studies are reviewed by the IAC Board of Directors. All aspects of the review are confidential.
Accredited laboratories can use their accreditation as a recruiting tool to attract the best and brightest physicians and sonographers. Talented professionals look for high-quality programs, and accreditation assures potential employees that a laboratory is dedicated to achieving the highest standards for patient care.
The intersocietal approach is the foundation of the accrediting bodies managed under the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission’s umbrella. The IAC is a nonprofit organization established with the support of the sponsoring organizations. Representatives from these sponsoring organizations, including physicians and sonographers, serve on the IAC Board of Directors. All areas of echocardiography were represented during the creation of the Standards for accreditation, and all areas continue to steer the accreditation process.
Modeled after the success of the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Vascular Laboratories (ICAVL), the IAC was created in 1996 to accredit echocardiography laboratories, becoming the second member division of the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC). Now in its second decade offering accreditation, the IAC has accredited nearly 4,700 echocardiography sites to date. A multitude of private insurers as well as Medicare carriers link reimbursement to IAC accreditation. Both the IAC and the ICAVL, along with the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Nuclear Medicine Laboratories (ICANL), the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Magnetic Resonance Laboratories (ICAMRL), the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Computed Tomography Laboratories (ICACTL) and the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Carotid Stenting Facilities (ICACSF) are members of the IAC.
Health care organizations are held to very high levels of accountability, by peers and by the general public. In numerous states, reimbursement directives that require accreditation of the laboratory have been instituted. Similar draft payment policies are pending throughout the United States. Laboratories attaining accreditation before it is required for reimbursement demonstrate a willingness to surpass current expectations. The general public and members of the echocardiography community will recognize an unmatched commitment to providing quality health care by laboratories that achieve IAC accreditation.