Echocardiography Center for Research and Innovation

Introduction

Aurora Health Care Echocardiography serves communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois within its 14 acute care hospitals and 20 outpatient ambulatory clinics.  More than 65,000 echocardiograms were performed in 2012.  The organization has a large volume structural heart disease population with experience in over 150 TAVR, 50 Mitraclip, LAA appendage occlusion devices, ASD/VSD closure devices.

Echocardiography services provide support in the operating room, cardiac catheterization laboratory and electrophysiology laboratory. Translational and basic animal research is conducted with focus on atrial mechanics, design and testing of cardiac valves.

Echocardiography Workforce

The system employs over 90 sonographers specializing in cardiac imaging and hemodynamics. Aurora Health Care supports the ongoing professional certification of its workforce.  An overwhelming majority have achieved certification with the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Credentialing International. 

Technology and Infrastructure

Aurora has made a significant investment in technology and infrastructure demonstrating its commitment to Echocardiography Services.  As a result, equipment has been replaced or upgraded with the most advanced technology available. This technology has allowed for available cardiac imaging in 2D, 3D, Myocardial Mechanics, Speckle, Strain, Carotid IMT, AAA imaging, Interventional Echocardiography with structural heart disease, hybrid ablation procedures, ablations and cardioversions .

A single reporting and image storage system, Fuji ProSolv, was also deployed across all hospital and clinic settings.  This common framework has positively impacted the way in which Echocardiography services are provided in all settings optimizing efficiency, appropriate utilization and enhancing clinical quality.     

Education

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center is the sponsoring institute for the School of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The school is a 19-month, full time, hospital-based program dedicated to preparing individuals for a rewarding career in medical imaging. The academic and clinical components are designed to provide qualified applicants with the knowledge and skills essential for an entry-level sonographer.  The school offers two distinct learning tracks in Sonography:

  • General/Vascular option, which includes didactic and clinical instruction in the areas of abdominal, obstetrics/gynecology, and vascular ultrasound.
  • Cardiac/Vascular option, which includes didactic and clinical instruction in the areas of adult echocardiography and vascular ultrasound.

Aurora Health Care Echocardiography supports a robust training program that provides basic and advanced training in the performance and interpretation of echocardiograms including weekly case conferences broadcast across the system and a Cardiac Sonographer Mentorship Program. A rigorous core and advanced competency validation program exists. 

The organization is host to visitors and research fellows nationally and internationally, and supports a large Cardiology fellowship training program including echocardiography curriculum.

Continuing Medical Education

Aurora sponsors an Echocardiography Symposium in Milwaukee each year, hosting attendees from across the country.  Monthly continuing education activities sponsored by the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are made available throughout the organization.

Academics

Echocardiography-related scholarly publications and manuscripts are available for review: Echo 2012 Annual Report (PDF, 44 KB).

Recognition

The Advisory Board Company - Cardiovascular Roundtable featured the accomplishments of Aurora Health Care in their 2012-2013 National Meeting Series, “Comprehensive Cardiovascular Imaging Integration Strategy” (PDF, 126 KB).  

Echocardiography Center for Research and Innovation Services

  • Core laboratory
  • Investigator initiated research
  • Clinical trials
  • Consulting service
  • Education

Echocardiography Center for Research and Innovation Resources

A. Jamil Tajik, MD, FACC, FAHA
President, Aurora Cardiovascular Services
Director, Aurora System wide Cardiac Services
Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Bijoy K. Khandheria, MD, FACP, FAHA, FESC, FACC, FASE
Director, Echocardiography Center for Research and Innovation
Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Stephen J. Welka, DO, FACC, FASE, FASNC
Co-Director, Echocardiography Center for Research and Innovation

Verna K. Seitz, MS, RN, NEA-BC
Administrator, Echocardiography Center for Research and Innovation

Matt M. Umland, RDCS, FASE
Quality Director, Echocardiography Center for Research and Innovation

Advisory Members: