About the Echo Quality Framework (EQF)

The Echocardiography Quality Framework (EQF) is a comprehensive, patient-centric, holistic approach to quality assurance and continuous service improvement. The EQF encompasses the quality of echocardiography, reproducibility and consistency, education and training, and user feedback.

Our framework is scalable and adaptable to benefit any echocardiography service, and a catalogue of supporting documents is being compiled to be made available to any participating department. Click on the Patient centred model button to view the details.

Patient centred model

How do we assess quality?

Many aspects of echocardiography are subjective or qualitative, meaning assessment of ‘quality’ can be difficult. Quantitative measurements have no available reference standard in day-to-day clinical practice, limiting the applicability and usefulness of intra- and inter-observer variability assessments. For this reason, developing and implementing a quality assurance (QA) program for echocardiography is a challenge, but one we are passionate about.

While recent initiatives have ensured quality standards are regularly assessed and maintained (for example BSE Departmental Accreditation), there remains an unwavering pressure to maximise productivity in order to meet ever-increasing demand. Auditing of image quality and assessment of reproducibility are important traditional markers of QA, however they are only two aspects of a wide-ranging echocardiography service.

Rather than a series of isolated, disconnected projects that may not produce lasting benefit, the EQF advocates a program of Continuous Service Improvement (CSI), with key principles in the development being:

  • A holistic approach that covers key aspects of the echocardiography service from the points of view of all stakeholders: patients and carers, clinical and administrative staff who use the service, the echo team itself and external bodies (such as BSE)
  • A patient-centric approach is vital; every aspect of the program is clearly linked to this ethos, meaning efforts can be viewed as improving patient care rather than measuring the performance of the echocardiography team.          
  • A scalable, adaptable program, which can be undertaken at a pace that suits the capacity and capability of the team 

The EQF is endorsed by the British Society of Echocardiography, who also offer echo quality accreditation to assess implementation of the framework. Click on the Echo Quality Framework button to study the framework.

Echo Quality Framework

Thinking of pursuing Echo Quality Accreditation?