The Laboratory Accreditation Board of ABRET supports an accreditation program for EEG Laboratories meeting technical standards and demonstrating quality output (LAB-EEG), for Neurophysiology Intraoperative Monitoring Laboratories demonstrating quality management of the NIOM program and adherence to established standards (LAB-NIOM), and for Long-Term Monitoring Laboratories exhibiting quality Epilepsy and ICU/Critical Care EEG Monitoring programs.
Benefits of having an accredited laboratory
- Independent, objective verification of quality management and policies
- Recognition that the laboratory meets established standards
- Enhanced credibility and confidence when data is sent outside the institution or used in court
- An accredited lab can be distinguished from local and regional competitors
- Laboratory Accreditation will improve laboratory image and establishes a reputation for integrity
- A certificate of accreditation will identify the lab’s status to colleagues and patients
The Value of EEG Laboratory Accreditation
Gregory G. Fischer, M.D.
Chairman, LAB-EEG of ABRET
Since 2005, EEG laboratory accreditation has been available through a subboard of ABRET (American Board of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists), the Laboratory Accreditation Board (LAB-EEG). LAB-EEG is made up of six members: 3 physician neurophysiologists and 3 registered EEG technologists. The American Neurophysiology Society (ACNS) is no longer accrediting labs, and has endorsed ABRET’s new accreditation process.
The first question most physicians ask about EEG lab accreditation is “Why put forth the effort to become accredited?” The easy answer is that, by going through the inexpensive and straightforward accreditation process, the lab demonstrates that it capable of producing quality, reliable EEG data, interpretable by anyone, anywhere. Technologists working in accredited labs are proud to showcase their work, and prove that their work conforms to quality standards set forth by the ACNS (see Guidelines at www.acns.org)
The stated purpose of ABRET’s lab accreditation process is as follows:
The purpose of the Laboratory Accreditation Board of ABRET, in accordance with ABRET’s mission statement, is to recognize, through an objective review process, those EEG laboratories that:
1. comply with established standards and guidelines
2. have polices and procedures in place that facilitate consistent technical quality
3. support professionalism and quality patient care
As of December 2008, 43 laboratories have become LAB of ABRET Accredited EEG Laboratories:
The current cost of the process is $1025. At the present time, a site visit is not required. The technical quality of the submitted data (5 complete EEGs) is assessed using the ACNS Technical Guidelines as the quality standard. A list of the expected technical standards is published on the ABRET website, www.abret.org. A limited set of lab Policies and Procedures are also reviewed. The professional (physician interpretation) component is not reviewed in this process. Two reviewers, one physician and one technologist) independently evaluate and score the records and policies submitted by the candidate laboratory.
Upon successful completion of the process a framed certificate and press kit is sent to the laboratory, and a press release is sent to the local chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation. In the near future the Epilepsy Foundation will have a link to the listing of accredited labs on the ABRET website.
The accreditation is for five years. LAB-EEG is working hard to make this accreditation process meaningful, yet inexpensive, so that all EEG labs with a desire to demonstrate the quality of their work will have the opportunity to participate in the process.
Several EEG laboratories that were initially unsuccessful in their quest for accreditation reapplied after correcting their deficiencies. Each unsuccessful lab is sent a letter stating why accreditation was not granted. 75% of these laboratories corrected their deficiencies and successfully completed the accreditation process.
Common problems were high impedances, inappropriate use of the 60 Hertz filter, uncorrected or unmonitored artifacts, inappropriate sensitivity settings.
The changes were gratifying. Nearly all of the issues form the initial attempts were corrected. None of the subsequent successes were marginal, and all labs submitted exceptional records that demonstrated dramatic improvements in the care taken to produce high quality EEG’s. This alone makes a substantial statement on the value of an EEG laboratory accreditation program.
A list of accredited labs and application information may be found on the ABRET website, www.abret.org.
Additional questions should be directed to the ABRET Executive Office:
2908 Greenbriar Drive, Suite A
Springfield, IL 62704