Maintaining your practice’s accreditation with the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) can be a daunting task to take on alone. The IAC imparts certain requirements for practices to meet in order to maintain their accreditation. These requirements are in place to ensure that practices are continuing quality care, and held to industry standards. Knowing what challenges to expect can be a helpful tool when preparing for a successful accreditation process.
CME and CEU Credits
To maintain accreditation, physicians are required to complete a minimum number of relevant, continuing medical education (CME) credits, while technologists are required to complete a minimum number of relevant, continuing education units (CEUs). Physicians and technologists are required to complete 15 credits within the three-year accreditation period that must comply with IAC standards and be completed within a relevant field related to their accreditation.
Often, physicians and technologists are not aware of which courses are considered relevant. The individual(s) in charge of completing your practice’s accreditation/reaccreditation is crucial to this phase of compliance, as they can guide physicians and technologists toward the appropriate courses. Understanding the continuing education requirements early on in the accreditation period is crucial to ensure that all physicians and technologists have enough time to complete the appropriate courses.
Report and Case Study Compliance
Report and case study compliance is another potential challenge to the reaccreditation process. It is vital to the approval process that the reports comply with IAC standards. Ensuring that experienced and knowledgeable staff review reports prior to submission will help minimize delays due to non-compliance. Report compliance includes specific parameters for study protocols, defect analysis, case study image formats, and proper report completion times.
A seasoned employee with accreditation experience is an asset during the reaccreditation process, and if that staff member is no longer with the practice, reaccreditation becomes a new, complicated task. The new employee must learn the accreditation process and complete and deliver the appropriate materials after correctly preparing them. There is more room for error with an inexperienced preparer than one who has worked with the accreditation process for your practice before.
Additionally, it is considered a best practice to update the IAC with any changes to your staff, equipment, or protocols, and if the notification was overlooked, there will be issues when your practice pursues its reaccreditation. The notification period for a change in technologists is within the year of the change, but changes to positions like Medical Director have a notification period of 30 days.
Updated Policies and Procedures
Physicians must also ensure that their practice policies and procedures are updated and current upon reaccreditation submission. Time plays a part in this challenge as well because these updates should be completed throughout the three-year period as the changes arise. Often, this section of the reaccreditation requirements is not met and may cause a delay in accreditation/reaccreditation due to non compliant protocols or inconsistency with reports.
Quality Improvement Plan
As part of the reaccreditation process, your practice must submit a Quality Improvement Plan. This plan shows that your practice is dedicated to providing high quality imaging services. Part of this endeavor is holding regular quality improvement meetings, along with documenting meeting minutes. This QI process is often documented but not implemented. It is important to have staff that understand the parameters to this QI plan and commit to following the necessary requirements to ensure IAC compliance.
Achieving and maintaining your accreditation is a time-consuming task. The most effective way to assure that the reaccreditation process is completed without complication is to ensure that all the required materials are gathered and organized well in advance.
Outsourcing the accreditation process is a helpful way to ensure that all aspects of the process are anticipated and completed. Regardless of the modality, Digirad offers its customers an accreditation service to provide practices with certified, accredited professionals to make the process of achieving and maintaining IAC or ACR accreditation smoother.