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Published on June 15, 2009

Palos Community Hospital Echo Lab Receives Accreditation

Palos Community Hospital's (PCH) Echocardiography Laboratory and the Lab at the Primary Care Center in Orland Park were granted accreditation by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL). This is one of the first among 1,000 echocardiography laboratories in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to be so recognized for its commitment to high quality patient care and its provision of quality diagnostic testing.

One American dies every 32 seconds of cardiovascular disease, which include disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., costing society more than 83.7 billion dollars each year in health services, medications and lost work time due to disability. Thus, echocardiographic testing is useful in the detection and management of many types of heart disease. This noninvasive test has become one of the standard diagnostic tools in cardiology, with an estimated 10 million echocardiograms performed annually in the U.S.

Echocardiography is a complex imaging technique that relies on the experience and training of both the physician and sonographer. Their interpretive and technical abilities determine the diagnostic accuracy of an echocardiographic examination. The Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) has developed an accreditation program that evaluates the quality of these and other critical elements of an echocardiography laboratory. Participation in the accreditation process is voluntary. However, accreditation status signifies that the facility has been reviewed by an independent agency that recognizes the laboratory's commitment to quality testing for the diagnosis of heart.

In 2008, PCH performed more than 9,900 echocardiogram studies. "PCH is committed to quality, and this accreditation is another way in which we demonstrate that," says Jill Beechler, assistant vice president of Cardiovascular Services. "This accreditation application process takes more than a year of work. We are proud to have dedicated staff and cardiologists who see the merit in committing the time to provide a quality diagnostic area."