Improved workflow, sonographer productivity, and cost-effectiveness of echocardiographic service for inpatients by using miniaturized systems

Luigi P. Badano, Gaetano Nucifora, Savina Stacul, Pasquale Gianfagna, Marcello Pericoli, Lorenzo Del Mestre, Simonetta Buiese, Rossana Compassi, Giuseppe Tonutti, Luigi Di Benedetto, Paolo M. Fioretti

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Aims The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of using certified sonographers and miniaturized echocardiography systems to perform echocardiograms at bedside in comparison to moving inpatients from the admission department to the echocardiography laboratory (echo-lab).Methods and results From 26 September 2005 to 27 October 2005, 112 patients admitted in six hospital wards connected through a 100 Mbit LAN to the echo-lab were scanned within the admission ward by sonographers using a miniaturized echo system. Logistical data were collected and results were compared with those obtained from 194 consecutive patients coming from the same wards and studied in the echo-lab with high-end machines between 8 March 2005 and 15 April 2005. Performing echocardiograms in the admission department avoided long waiting time of the inpatients in the echo-lab before and after the study, increased the percentage of patients studied within 3 and 5 days from request (88 vs. 77 and 100 vs. 95, respectively; P = 0.03), increased both sonographer (by 33.9; P < 0.001) and echo-lab productivity (by 41; P < 0.001), and reduced costs of echocardiograms by 29.Conclusion Implementation of digital echocardiography, certified sonographers, and a miniaturized echo system allowed improvement of the cost-effectiveness of the service provided by the echo-lab for inpatients, and avoided patients' discomfort derived from prolonged waiting time before and after the exam.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-542
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Echocardiography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • Cardiac sonographer
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Digital echocardiography
  • Echocardiography
  • Miniaturized echocardiography system
  • Organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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