Healthcare Science Week | Implementing echo quality

Published 14/03/2024

Ms Pooja Raithatha, Chief Cardiac Physiologist, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Ms Sarah Wilson, Highly Specialised Cardiac Physiologist, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust share their experiences of working towards Echo Quality Accreditation (EQA) for Healthcare Science Week.

Quality assurance (QA) in any discipline is vital to ensure that healthcare professionals can deliver excellent patient care; it is a great demonstration of the extension of our responsibilities in our continuously developing roles as healthcare scientists.

At University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust we introduced echo quality (EQ) into the department by using the Echo Quality Framework1 to guide key areas in need. The main aim was to provide more comprehensive EQ to every aspect of our service, with particular attention to echocardiography practise. A snapshot of some key methods we have utilised to incorporate and implement EQ include:

  • Creating re-reporting tasks to assess echo practise amongst the team, results of which could be fed back to the team in our monthly departmental meetings, with follow-up educational presentations on the pathology of interest. This task alone has been a useful method at reducing our variability through scrutinising our local reporting protocols/habits. It has also led to increased engagement through continual conversations and idea generation amongst the team to find ways to better assess our accuracy and coherence.
  • To assess the compliance, effectiveness and satisfaction of our service with patients and clinician expectations, we have made use of simple questionnaires.
  • To advance our education and training for our wide variety of trainee cohorts, we have been created internal formal training and sign-off pathways utilising individualised local personal records and logs.

Ms Pooja Raithatha, Chief Cardiac Physiologist, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

At Great Western Hospital, Swindon, we were already implementing the Echo Quality Framework, which is essentially the breakdown of points you need to cover to gain EQA. Our main goal was to change the stigma of ‘echo audit’ in the department and to turn it into a positive experience in which everyone can learn from, rather than something everyone feared.

The first thing we did was send out anonymous surveys to all echocardiographers within the department to gain honest feedback and asked everyone to make suggestions on how to improve practice. Increasing engagement in EQ was our first step. The feedback in general was very negative, however there were lots of suggestions for improvement. This was a democratic process, so immediately increased engagement. The main change we implemented was the way our group EQ sessions were conducted. Initially, everyone in the room knew who had performed the scan and everyone feared their echo being pulled up. We now have reports that are completely anonymised and all scanner/ reporter details are removed. Moving to MS Forms for EQ has been innovative and further increased engagement. We generate a QR code for everyone to scan on their phones and anonymously complete their feedback whilst viewing the echo. We are constantly looking to improve the process of echo quality by regularly surveying staff to give everyone the chance to have their say.

Ms Sarah Wilson, Highly Specialised Cardiac Physiologist, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Both trusts applied for Echo Quality Accreditation (EQA) to:

  • Improve efficiency of multiple aspects of the service in a structured manner
  • Gain recognition of the hard work we are doing to constantly improve patient care
  • Change the stigma and improve staff attitude towards EQ
  • Allow the team to learn from EQ rather than fear it
  • Increase engagement in EQ

EQ is something about which we are very passionate. We have learnt that implementing EQ is a complex process that needs continual advancement, and the key requirements are time engagement and commitment.

 Find out more about EQA

Read more from Pooja and Sarah on EQA


  1. Masani N. The Echocardiography Quality Framework: a comprehensive, patient-centred approach to quality assurance and continuous service improvement. Echo Res Pract. 2018 Oct 1;5(4):G35–41. doi: 10.1530/ERP-18-0052.