|FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why should I get certified now?
The ACC grandfather period gives you until July 1, 2008 to complete your Level 2 certification program. After this time, all training becomes a two month fellowship which could be very difficult to accomplish with fulltime clinical responsibilities.
Another reason to get trained is that when the guidelines are issued for Peripheral Vascular Disease, they will allow you to fast-track your training if you are already Level 2 CTA trained. Finally, cardiac imaging is in its infancy. Training now will allow you to be prepared for future modalities that will be derived from this technology.
I have a GE, Siemens or Phillips workstation. Can I come to one of your courses?
Yes, our workstation based course is designed to teach you a systematic approach to reading Cardiac CT. Developing a systematic approach and understanding Cardiac CT workflow is what we specialize in. It does not matter what workstation you learn this on, you can transfer the skills from Vital Images or TeraRecon to the GE, Siemens or Phillips workstations. We have trained many students who have purchased workstations other than Vital Images or TeraRecon.
I don’t know if I am going to go all the way to Level 2. What if I want to attend Level 1 classes and then decide?
You can complete Level 1 and then decide if you would like to continue to Level 2. Almost all of our students who have completed Level 1 decided to complete their studies to Level 2 after they have attended our class for a few days. The ACC deadline to be grandfathered in for certification is rapidly approaching. In addition, many hospitals and insurers are requiring Level 2 certification. Finally, in a competitive medical marketplace, being certified early can help enhance your practice’s services to the medical community.
After I have completed my Level 1 training with you, do I have to use the software or can I choose to come back for live training?
You can attend the 3-day live part of the class and then decide if you prefer to finish via software or live training. The software provides a virtual simulation of our training environment and allows you to self-pace the completion of your certification. This equates to less time out of the clinic and away from family and saves on travel costs. If you prefer to come back to our center for live training, we regularly conduct a 4 day finisher course in our San Francisco center. However, space is limited.
Do you offer CME credits?
Yes, you can earn as many as 64 CME credits if you complete your Level 2 accreditation with us. You will get CME credits for the live classes and the self-study coursework that you complete.
What type of workstations do you teach on?
We teach courses on both Vital Images (Vitrea) and the TeraRecon workstations.
Do you recommend TeraRecon or Vital Images (Vitrea)?
Vital Images (Vitrea) and TeraRecon are both superb workstations. TeraRecon was an early leader in cardiac imaging, but now we see an almost equal interest in the workstations. TeraRecon appears to be strong in large hospital environments with their ThinClient Server, but now Vital Images also has a similar product. Both of these companies make a strong effort to distance themselves from the workstations made by the large manufacturers.
When colleagues ask us to compare the two products offered, we strongly recommend that they do their diligence on customer support and remote vs. local bandwidth needs. We recommend asking existing users about their experience, and even coming to a CTA training class to test drive the machine for a few days.
What type of CT machine do you use?
We have a Toshiba 64 slice, but Dr. DeFrance has experience with all of the 64 slice CT scanners.
- What do I need to do before coming to the 3 day course?
Before you come to the 3 day course, you must complete the didactics portion of the class online. This requires that you have access to a computer with an internet connection, sound, and a video player such as Windows Media Player, Real One Player, or iTunes (these are freely available on the web). You will review several video lectures of an average lenght of 15 minutes. These online didactics can be completed at your own pace, and paused and resumed when you choose to. Typically, it takes a total of about 4-6 hours to complete the didactics.
- After the 3 day course will I be done with Level 2?
No, after you complete our 3 day course, you must either come back for one of our 4 day finisher courses or complete Level 2 with our CTA Mentor Program.
- What are the requirements for the self-study software (CTA Mentor Program)?
After attending a 3 day course at one of our training centers, we will provide you with an external hard drive containing our interactive training software (CTA Mentor Program). You will take this hard drive home with you for use on your home PC. You do not need an internet connection as the program is run locally. When you have completed the self-study, you simply send us back the hard drive for review and we send you your Level 2 certificate.
You will need access to a workstation so that you can review and manipulate the cases we give you. If you do not have access to a workstation, we have leasing options available.
- If I use the software solution, can I communicate with the instructor?
Yes, you can send an email to the instructor through the software. However, you will need an internet connection for this feature. Alternatively, you can email the instructor from your standard email program. Additionally, phone calls sessions can be arranged as needed.
- I have already completed some proctored cases, can I complete my Level 2 training with you?
If you have been proctored on cases in a training program where you personally manipulated the images on 3D workstation, you may have those cases credited toward your tuition. However, all cases must have been be signed off by a Level 3 instructor. Whether you are a beginner or are partially trained, you are required to come to our 3 day live onsite training to validate your competency and learn our unique and valuable CT reading system.
- Can I do all 150 proctored cases in one session?
Three to four 10 hour days of sitting in front of a computer screen learning in-depth material in a hands-on way, is all most people can take. In our experience, even the radiologists that come to learn CTA "cry uncle" after three solid days. We believe that an initial session followed by some reading and didactic work on your own and then a second session of reading works best.
- How many live cases will I get at your program?
The number of CTA cases that we perform varies quite a bit from day to day. You will get the required number of live cases needed during your time onsite and through our software solution. The real intention of the SCCT guidelines is to have you review a series of consecutive cases that are not groomed so that you learn to post-process a wide variety of pathology. In addition to our live cases, we have plenty of cases in our library to give you the training you need for CTA.
- Do you train to Level 3?
There is a general misconception that reading to 300 cases instantly qualifies you as an instructor of CTA. The real qualifications for Level 3 require that you direct a CTA fellowship/training program, publish peer-reviewed research in CTA and/or speak at national conferences. True Level 3 status is granted by SCCT after strict review. Be wary of Level 3 training programs that attempt to sell you on further training by suggesting that you will be able to teach CTA.
The obvious glaring issue with attempting to teach CTA after simply reviewing 300 cases is that the nascent instructor does not have a case library with a variety of pathology, nor the requisite experience to teach CTA. Our concerns are that this under training can result in medical liability. The increased risk for medical liability is not a positive influence for the field of cardiac imaging and likely will result in negative publicity for the field as a whole.
Please click here to read more about Level 3 training along with Dr. DeFrance’s view on this subject.
- What is the difference between Level 1, 2 and 3?
This video will help clarify the CTA Competency Guidelines.
- How is your program different from all the others listed on the SCCT web site?
There are only a handful of hands-on workstation based courses available in the country right now. At our course each student gets his or her own workstation. We have a fulltime dedicated Level 3 instructor who is present in the classroom at all times. Dr. DeFrance is a full time teacher who has received excellent testimonials and personally takes pride in providing the highest quality education available. We have heard complaints that other CTA courses often have faculty with various other responsibilities and are only intermittently available during the courses. We have been teaching CTA for over two years and our faculty has extensive hands-on, real world CTA experience.
- How does your tuition compare to others out there?
Most courses cost between $9,000 and $18,000 and range from 5 to 10 days at a center and away from your clinic. Our course is competitively priced and requires you to be at one of our training centers for only 3 days. This saves on time away and money lost from being away from your clinic.
- I am a radiologist. Is this program just specifically geared towards cardiologists?
No, we train both Radiologists and Cardiologists in our courses. The interaction of the specialties adds greatly to the learning environment. Since each of the specialties has differing areas of expertise and training needs, we address this in providing different didactic material for each specialty. Moreover, our curriculum and case selection was designed by a team of both cardiologists and radiologists.
Having a mixed class actually adds quite a bit to the experience as lots of good group discussions arise. Radiologists have commented that they understood many more of the clinical issues related to CVCTA after the course. Cardiologists have said that they benefited from the detailed anatomic and imaging knowledge that radiologists possess. All in all, we promote a collegial learning environment.
- Will you come to our center to train our team of physicians?
Yes. Offsite training dates can be arranged for groups of 6 or more. However, dates are limited so please book in advance. In general, we provide all the workstations needed for the course. We make all attempts to meet your schedule by arranging the course on weekends. If you are interested in arranging a training at your center, please complete this form and return to us by fax (415-772-5685) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Is there a dress code?
Although many physicians come dressed in “professional office attire,” we recommend comfortable/casual clothing, as you will be sitting in front of a workstation for most of the course.
- Are certificates issued at the end of the course?
Level 2 ACC competency certificates are issued when the physician has completed the entire course sequence.