Educational intervention for improving the appropriateness of transthoracic echocardiograms ordered by pediatric cardiologists

Ritu Sachdeva, Pamela S. Douglas, Michael S. Kelleman, Courtney E. McCracken, Leo Lopez, Kenan W.D. Stern, Benjamin W. Eidem, Oscar J. Benavidez, Rory B. Weiner, Elizabeth Welch, Robert M. Campbell, Wyman W. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate effectiveness of educational intervention (EI) in the Pediatric Appropriate Use of Echocardiography (PAUSE) study to improve appropriateness of transthoracic echocardiograms (TTEs) ordered in pediatric cardiology clinics. Design: Data were prospectively collected after the publication of the Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) document during 2 phases: the pre-EI phase (1/1/15 to 4/30/15) and the post-EI phase (7/1/15 to 10/30/15). Pre-EI, site-investigators (SI) determined AUC indications, by reviewing the clinic records. Post-EI, providers assigned indications prior to obtaining TTE. Setting: Pediatric cardiology clinics at six centers. Patients: Those ≤18 years old, receiving initial outpatient TTE. Interventions: EI included (i) sharing the pre-EI appropriateness ratings with providers, (ii) lecture on AUC, (iii) providers self-assigning indications, and (iv) monthly e-mail feedback by SI to individual providers. Outcome: The primary outcome measure was a change in the proportion of studies for indications rated R following EI. Results: Of the 4542 TTEs (1907 pre-EI, 2635 post-EI) ordered by 90 physicians, overall comparison of appropriateness ratings before and after EI showed an increase in Appropriate (72.5%–76.2%, P =.004), no change in May Be Appropriate, and a decline in Rarely Appropriate (R) from 9.6% to 7.4%, P =.008. Following EI, a significant decline in R was observed only in three centers and EI did not affect the variation in TTEs ordered for R indications among physicians (P =.467). Physicians with the highest proportion of TTEs ordered for R before EI, showed the most significant decline in R. Conclusions: Appropriateness of pediatric outpatient TTE varies substantially by center. A customized EI resulted in modest improvement in the appropriateness of TTEs in the PAUSE study, with an increase in Appropriate and a decrease in R TTEs. Multifaceted EIs are required to improve adherence to national standards such as AUC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalCongenital Heart Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • appropriate use criteria
  • echocardiography
  • outpatient
  • quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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