Echocardiography Quality Framework (EQF)

About the 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 customer 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.

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 are developing (through the Clinical Standards Committee) a national program to support its implementation and further development.

Find out more

Submit your work

We invite ongoing submissions of your echocardiography department's work, to help the Working Group develop BSE EQF templates which will become available to all of our members for use in their departments. All submissions will be adapted if necessary, and when used in the EQF, acknowledged and referenced. We will also be inviting the presentation of examples and experiences by participating BSE members.

We encourage examples of your policies and protocols in any of the following EQF domains:

  • Echo study (quality control, audit)
  • Echo report (quality control, audit)
  • Reproducibility/consistency
  • Service audits
  • Training programs
  • Teaching programs
  • Patient satisfaction surveys
  • User feedback 

Your submissions and contributions are gratefully received, and we look forward to developing an exceptional quality framework together.

Submit now