Bassett keeps up to date on systems for studying heart


Bassett Healthcare Network's echocardiography labs were recently re-accredited by a national accreditation organization for the sixth year in a row.

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission is dedicated to ensuring quality patient care and promoting health care through accreditation programs, according to a media release from Bassett Healthcare Network.

Echocardiography is a non-invasive technology used to monitor heart structure and function, according to Dr. Jerel Zoltick, associate chief of cardiology services for Bassett Healthcare Network. The technology can also detect cardiac damage like heart valve leakages or clots. Zoltick said echocardiography is probably one of the safest tests in medicine today.

“It can give us tremendous amounts of information in a non-invasive manner to analyze the cardiac structure and function of the heart,” Zoltick said.

The echocardiography programs at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, Fox Hospital in Oneonta, O’Connor Hospital in Delhi, Cobleskill Regional Hospital and Little Falls Hospital were all granted three-year accreditation by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. The labs are accredited for adult trans-esophageal echocardiography, adult stress echocardiography and adult trans-thoracic echocardiography.

Certain diseases are often more common in the elderly population, including congenital heart disease, Zoltick said. The mean age of his patients in this area is about 10 years older compared to what he saw when he was working in Washington, D.C., he said.

"Rural health has some issues that are a little different than inner cities," he said. "Sometimes our smoking population is more prevalent and the incidence of diabetes and obesity seems to be more prevalent in rural healthcare."

These things can also contribute to heart disease, he said.

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission accreditation process involves detailed self-evaluation and a thorough review by a panel of medical experts, according to the release. The accreditation process enables "both the critical operational and technical components of the applicant facility to be assessed, including representative case studies and their corresponding final reports," according to the release.

Zoltick said he's been reading echocardiograms for more than 35 years. All in all, he said, Bassett Healthcare Network reads about 850 echocardiograms each month.

"The type of technology is state of the art for our population in a rural health care system," he said. "The technology we have here equals to any place in the world probably."

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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