What's the Difference Between Certification and Accreditation in Medical Ultrasound?

January 10, 2013

The AIUM's President-Elect Steven R. Goldstein, MD, summed up the question in a 2007 article published in Obstetrics & Gynecology: "Practices are Accredited; Individuals are Certified." Certification is given to individuals who meet educational and experiential requirements, pass an examination or examinations to assess their knowledge, and obtain regular continuing medical education in their field. An individual remains certified regardless of where he or she is employed.

AIUM Accreditation is granted to a specific facility. Receiving accreditation through the AIUM implies that a practice has demonstrated that all of its interpreting physicians meet relevant ultrasound training guidelines, case volume requirements, and continuing ultrasound education; all sonographers are or will become appropriately certified by a specific date; ultrasound equipment is adequately maintained; safeguards are in place to protect patients and staff; ultrasound examinations and reports meet or exceed accepted guidelines for content, time lines, and record retention; and there is regular monitoring for quality assurance. However, work that an employee of an accredited institution performs outside of that practice is not accredited.