Training Guidelines for Physicians Who Evaluate and Interpret Diagnostic Abdominal/General Ultrasound Examinations

Physicians who evaluate and interpret diagnostic abdominal/general ultrasound examinations should be licensed medical practitioners who have a thorough understanding of the indications and guidelines for ultrasound examinations as well as familiarity with the basic physical principles and limitations of the technology of ultrasound imaging. They should be familiar with alternative and complementary imaging and diagnostic procedures and should be capable of correlating the results of these other procedures with the ultrasound examination findings. They should have an understanding of ultrasound technology and instrumentation, ultrasound power output, equipment calibration, and safety. Physicians responsible for ultrasound examinations should be able to demonstrate familiarity with the anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of those organs or anatomic areas that are being examined. These physicians should provide evidence of training and requisite competence needed to successfully perform and interpret diagnostic ultrasound examinations in the area(s) in which they practice. The training should include methods of documentation and reporting of ultrasound studies.

Physicians performing and/or interpreting diagnostic abdominal/general ultrasound examinations should meet 1 of the following:

1.  Completion of an approved residency program, fellowship, or postgraduate training that includes structured training in diagnostic ultrasound in the area(s) in which they practice, under the supervision of a qualified physician(s),* during which the trainees will have evidence of being involved with the performance, evaluation, interpretation, and reporting of at least 500** diagnostic ultrasound examinations.

If completion of a residency and/or fellowship program occurred more than 36 months ago:

a.  The supervision and/or performance, interpretation, and reporting of at least 500** diagnostic ultrasound examinations in the previous 36 months must be demonstrated; and

b.  Thirty AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ dedicated to diagnostic ultrasound in the area(s) in which they practice must be documented within the previous 36 months.***

2.  For completion of a residency and/or fellowship in which the physician did not receive the required structured training in diagnostic abdominal/general ultrasound, acceptable clinical experience can be documented by demonstrating:

a.  Evidence of 50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ dedicated to diagnostic ultrasound in the area(s) in which the physician practices within the previous 36 months; and

b.  Evidence of being involved with the performance, evaluation, interpretation, and reporting of at least 500** diagnostic ultrasound examinations within the previous 36 months. It is expected that in most circumstances, examinations will be under the supervision of a qualified physician(s).*

Adjunctive Competence in Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging

Recognition of adjunctive competence in contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging requires documentation of 7 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ dedicated to contrast-enhanced ultrasound and clinical experience in performing at least 15 contrast-enhanced ultrasound examinations within the previous 3 years.

Maintenance of Competence in Abdominal/General Ultrasound

All physicians performing abdominal/general ultrasound examinations should demonstrate evidence of continuing competence in the interpretation and reporting of these examinations. A minimum of 300 diagnostic abdominal/general ultrasound examinations per year is recommended to maintain the physician’s skills.

Continuing Medical Education in Abdominal/General Ultrasound

The physician should complete 30 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ specific to abdominal/general ultrasound every 3 years.

Continuing Medical Education in Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging

The physician should complete 3 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ specific to contrast-enhanced ultrasound every 3 years.

 

*A qualified physician is one who, at minimum, meets the criteria defined above.

**Five hundred cases were selected as a minimum number needed to gain experience and proficiency with sonography as a diagnostic modality. This is necessary to develop technical skills, to appreciate the practical applications of basic physics as it affects image quality and artifact formation, and to acquire an experience base for understanding the range of normal and recognizing deviations from normal.

***If the physician interprets in multiple specialties, a representative sample of specialties totaling at least 30 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ dedicated to ultrasound is acceptable.

Cases presented as preselected, limited-image sets, such as in lectures, case conferences, and teaching files, are excluded. The ability to analyze a full image set, determining its completeness and the adequacy of image quality, and performing the diagnostic process, distinguishing normal from abnormal, is considered a primary goal of the training experience.


 

 


Approved: 04/10/2013; Reapproved: 11/02/2014, 10/31/2015, 05/20/2019

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