American Society of Echocardiography Says: More Training Needed



A fact we’ve mentioned on this blog time and time again is that medical IT technology is ever-evolving and constantly updating.  The appearance of new technology in any hospital, clinic or private practice can mean that the training for associates is often lacking.  When that training falls short of excellent, problems can arise and discrepancies can start to pop up that may be extremely dangerous and costly.  Now, the American Society of Echocardiography is saying that training needs to increase for these costly mistakes and discrepancies to finally disappear.

When the ASE conducted their own research and reports, their findings were disturbing.  After looking through over 14,000 transthoracic echocardiograms (TTE), almost 2,000 transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE) and over 2,000 stress echocardiograms (SE), they came up with a percentage of discrepancy.  The scary thing was, 29% of the reports had major discrepancies that came during evaluation by Level 2 echo readers, not the higher Level 3.  That means, almost 1 in 3 echocardiograms were incorrectly read or found costly and dangerous discrepancies.

Most of the discrepancies that popped up during evaluation lead to further testing.  Here is what the ASE found:

“During the study, the most common discrepancy pertained to the diagnosis of patent foramen ovale and atrial septal defect by TTE (18 patients). The researchers said that these discrepancies often led to further testing via TEE…Other major discrepancies occurred during cardiac coronary angiography where there was a 40 percent discrepancy rate in the diagnosis of aortic valve disease. During TEE, mitral valve disease diagnosis discrepancies occurred in 37.5 percent of patients and 100 percent during the diagnosis of cardiac masses (six of six patients)…Major discrepancies of stress echocardiographs occurred in all five patients who underwent coronary angiography.”

Clearly, as medical imaging technology leaps forward, so too must the training as to exactly how to use, evaluate and apply the knowledge the new technology provides.  Without proper education and training, the highest technology is still susceptible to human error.

To read more about the discrepancies being found in echocardiography according to the ASE, feel free to check out the full article.

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