ASE Policy Statements

ASE Board-approved policy statements highlight the scope of issues being addressed in cardiovascular ultrasound. New policies are initially distributed to ASE members via the official journal, JASE and then posted here. Policies have been reviewed that are over ten years and have been phased out should they be contradictory in nature with new policies or not relevant to Society current practices.

1/9/2018 – The ASE approved the Recommendations for the Qualifications for Medical Director of an Echocardiography Laboratory.  The statement reads: The recent COCATS 4 Training in Echocardiography document carefully  recommends criteria for level I, II and III training, but it does not, nor was it intended to, describe the skill sets necessary to qualify to be the medical director of an echocardiography laboratory.  Academic teaching centers must be able to provide the necessary components for all COCATS levels of training as well as exposure to new technologies and other advanced forms of imaging.  Accordingly, it is generally expected that directors in this setting have expertise in all clinical aspects of echocardiography, familiarity with all other cardiac imaging modalities and a strong background in research and education.  Level III training (1) or its experience equivalent and board certification provide an important foundation. However, the services required to meet the demands at non-academic healthcare facilities may differ in scope from that of academic centers. While the degree of training necessary to be successful in these settings will vary, the ASE endorses the notion that the scope of training and maintenance of certification should meet or, even better, exceed the needs of present day practice and conform to the IAC standards for the requirements for medical director (2). Regardless of training, laboratory location or focus, leadership skills, such as the ability to communicate, organize and work well with others are additional important prerequisites.  Other important attributes include a commitment to quality, appropriate use, ongoing education and mentorship as well as the ability to manage the finances of the operation. External recognition of quality and expertise from professional societies, such as Fellow of the American Society of Echocardiography designation, or the internal recognitions from individual institutions are desirable.  Hence, rather than recommending a specific level of training and experience, it seems more appropriate for the employing institution to assess all of the above and determine the best candidate to serve as director.

11/7/2017 – ASE approves a policy to allow International Alliance Partners to re-publish ASE guidelines either translated, or if in English, after three years once the citation limitation is passed.

11/7/2017 – ASE approves the new terminology “UEA” to be used interchangeably with “contrast agent” as outlined in the ASE Ultrasonic Enhancing Agents in Echo guideline.

2/17/2017–ASE approves the following policy:

ASE recognizes that sonographers are an integral part of the cardiac imaging team and support their active role during the performance of a TEE. However, that role should be limited to their scope of practice. Specifically, ASE supports sonographers using their expertise and skills to optimize images (i.e. adjust gain, contrast, and other machine settings) during the TEE exam. ASE does not advocate for sonographers to perform TEE intubation or manipulation of the probe.  The decision was approved unanimously by the Board due to the infrequency of the practice at healthcare institutions, the diversity of laws and regulations per state, and lack of established processes that ensure competency for treating acute complications in performing TEE. The Board believes the field will continue to evolve and that sonographers will continue to need TEE education pertinent to their practice to stay current in this field.

3/23/2016 – ASE affirms the role of live scanning for educational purposes.

2/15/2014 – ASE approves the following statement (amending the statement approved on 11/2013):
ASE Accreditation Policy Statement
ASE is committed to advocating for an environment of excellence in the quality and practice of cardiovascular ultrasound. As such, the Society supports pediatric, vascular and adult lab accreditation as an established method of achieving these goals. ASE recommends that in every laboratory minimum standards be maintained in terms of equipment, quality improvement activities, and lab protocols. An environment of excellence also requires that the entire cardiovascular team engages in continuing education to maintain and improve their skills over time. To address both the quality and appropriateness of cardiac and vascular care, ASE believes that all labs serving adult, vascular or pediatric patients should utilize clear, consistent processes to ensure establishment and continued reassessment of methods for achieving and maintaining standards and excellence.

3/19/2011 – ASE officially affirms that the National Board of Echocardiography (NBE) is the current authority to certify adult echocardiographers in the quality of the performance and interpretation of echocardiography in the United States and its Territories.

11/8/03 – ASE approves the position statement on mandatory sonographer credentialing or lab accreditation. “ASE stands for quality based reimbursement.  This is currently best determined by reputable bodies including: 1- Sonographer Credentialing and/or 2- Physician Certification and/or 3- Laboratory Accreditation.”

11/8/03 – ASE approves the position statement on Contrast agents: “the agent is a drug and should be treated as such for reimbursement purposes.”

10/03/01 – ASE adopts a statement of policy that all ASE Guidelines and Standards documents be publicly-accessible on ASE’s website.  A nominal charge would be made for mailed and multiple document requests.

Attention Innovators

Do you or someone you know have an innovative solution to improve cardiovascular ultrasound? Sign up to compete in Echovation Challenge 2018the top three projects will win a share of the $10,000 prize! Visit the challenge portal to find out what’s required, register as an innovator, follow & share the challenge, or join the conversation. Submission deadline is February 9!