Implementation of Process Improvements to Facilitate Cardiac CT Re-Credentialing in a Rural Healthcare System

Clin Med Res. 2022 Jan 12;cmr.2021.1650. doi: 10.3121/cmr.2021.1650. Online ahead of print.


Background: Because rural providers may experience barriers in achieving the necessary components to successfully re-credential in cardiac computed tomography (Cardiac CT), we evaluated the current system for re-credentialing at our organization and implemented processes to facilitate Cardiac CT re-credentialing for our providers.Methods: Institutional opportunities for Cardiac CT quality assurance (QA) conference attendance, Cardiac CT imaging evaluation, and Cardiac CT continuing medical education (CME) acquisition were assessed in 2009 and 2013. Process improvement strategies were implemented in 2014 including adding electronic media hosting sites, a "hands-on" image interpretation course, and more options for CME acquisition. Pre- and post-educational improvements were evaluated over a 10-year period. The number and type of events hosted, attendees, image review opportunities, and CME credits awarded were assessed and compared at the provider level.Results: Attendance at Cardiac CT QA conferences increased substantially following implemented changes despite fewer certified Cardiac CT providers. Electronic attendance accounted for 26% of this increased attendance, while the "hands on" course provided 43 images for review per year. The number of Cardiac CT CME credits awarded increased substantially, paralleling increased QA and "hands on" attendance.Conclusion: In rural healthcare systems, institutional strategies can increase provider access to components necessary for Cardiac CT level II re-credentialing. In the COVID-19 era, rural and urban health organizations may find considerable provider benefit and engagement by using similar process improvement methods to help providers meet local and national requirements for certification.

Keywords: CME; Cardiovascular Computed Tomography; Coronary CTA; continuing medical education; re-credentialing; rural healthcare providers.