An echocardiogram can also be performed as part of a stress test with images taken before and after physical exercise.
The EQI Program is a substantial addition to the IQMH Centre for Accreditation, with close to 700 facilities in Ontario that perform roughly one million echocardiograms annually. About 60% of Ontario’s echocardiograms are performed in privately owned clinics/offices, with the remaining 40% being performed in hospitals. This is an accreditation program designed to ensure all echo studies meet the appropriate use criteria and the Standards for Provision of Echocardiography in Ontario
The EQI Program includes the following key components:
- provisional recognition;
- an on-site review including observation of all modalities performed; and
- case study reviews of echocardiography images and accompanying reports.
EQI Staff and Advisors
IQMH, under the leadership of Janice Nolan (Executive Director, Programs) and Julie Coffey (Director, Accreditation and Education), is taking responsibility for the management and operation of the EQI Program, and we are pleased to welcome the following three new staff members who joined the IQMH team on April 1, 2020:
Ryan Gillespie; Strategist EQI Program
Ryan has a varied education from the University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, and Western University, with degrees from a Bachelor of Education to a PhD. His PhD was in physiology, studying bone development in a basic science laboratory. After completing his PhD, the opportunity came up to enter healthcare and he enthusiastically joined the Cardiac Care Network, which became CorHealth. Ryan worked there for 6-1/2 years before transferring (also enthusiastically) to IQMH. On his birthday, three years ago, he was given a gift certificate to a climbing gym and has been obsessed with rock climbing ever since. Ryan lives for outdoor climbing and is now an international climber (Kentucky, US).
Fissan Lau; Specialist, EQI Program
Fissan Lau began her career as a Registered Nurse working in Cardiology/Critical Care. She’s been working with the EQI Program for three years, which has improved her project management skills. Her joy of the EQI program, so far, has been providing practical recommendations for quality improvement, and making a positive difference in echocardiology laboratories. Outside of work, Fissan is a novice golfer. On a sunny day, you might find her sipping stouts and hanging out with her partner and their golden retriever (Marley). Fissan looks forward to aligning and growing the EQI Program with the Accreditation family.
Shireen Persaud; Specialist, EQI Program
Shireen holds a BSc and Bachelor of Health Administration. She originally trained and worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist, before specializing in the field of cardiac sonography with several years of echocardiography experience gained as laboratory manager. Shireen has been with the EQI Program for almost two years, brought on as in-house sonographer/technical subject matter expert. Outside of work, she keeps busy with the mammoth project of a new house build, biking (when time allows) and looking after ten beehives and jarring honey in late summer.
In addition to the three new IQMH staff mentioned above, the transfer also involves the continued engagement of:
- A six-member EQI Program Advisory Panel, led by Dr. Anthony Sanfilippo, MD, FRCPC, Cardiologist. Members of the Advisory Panel are cardiac physicians who provide advice, guidance and direction to the EQI Program.
- A team of 11 on-site reviewers. These 11 individuals are experienced cardiac sonographers that visit echocardiography services in person to evaluate conformance.
- A roster of physician assessors and review panel members. These are duly qualified physicians with expertise in echocardiography that review echocardiography case studies submitted by facilities and — if part of the review panel — decide on the facility’s outcome.
Outlook for the future
All staff and advisors have enthusiastically joined IQMH and are confident in the future of the program. CorHealth will continue supporting the EQI Program through the setting and maintenance of policies, standards, and clinical guidance related to the quality of echocardiography services.
“With assessments and related accreditation decisions for the initial cohort of echocardiography service registrants approaching completion, the opportunity arose for us to assess the future of the Program with the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH),” says Sheila Jarvis, CEO, CorHealth. “The transition will allow CorHealth the opportunity to focus on our core mandate and expertise by ensuring that current best practices of echocardiography services are always reflected in the Standards for Provision of Echocardiography in Ontario (the Standards).”
“The success of the EQI Program is important to patients, their families, and current and future providers of echocardiography services in Ontario. This transition will ensure the long-term success of the EQI Program,” says Dr. Anthony Sanfilippo, Chair, EQI Advisory Panel, Cardiologist, Kingston General Hospital, and Associate Dean, Undergraduate of Medical Education at Queen’s University. “CorHealth and IQMH’s commitment to continual quality improvement, positive impact on patient safety, and outcomes will continue to drive the EQI Program.”
“We have established expertise in accreditation and quality assurance processes,” says Jeff Sumner, President, IQMH. “We look forward to the opportunity to take on the implementation of the EQI Program and are committed to the goal of providing the highest quality of echocardiography services to patients in Ontario.”
The EQI Program will continue for those sites currently in the process of pursuing accreditation. CorHealth and IQMH will begin the next phase, which includes updating the Standards and exploring potential refinements to the ongoing accreditation process. Currently, the program is entirely funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH); however, as part of the transition, planning is underway with the MOH to develop a future cost recovery model supported by EQI Program participants aimed at ensuring ongoing quality improvement and the future sustainability of the EQI Program in Ontario.
IQMH is proud of this important new addition to our suite of Accreditation programs, and we welcome our new staff members, on-site reviewers, physician assessors, and the EQI Advisory Panel. The program will continue to function uninterrupted as a critical system support of the provision of high-quality echocardiography services in Ontario. We look forward to finding ways to enhance the existing program with renewed processes inspired by those within the IQMH Centre for Accreditation. In addition, exciting new possibilities exist in the area of education and with Accreditation Canada. For more information about the EQI Program, please visit https://iqmh.org/Accreditation/EQI-Program.
Read the announcement.