Is It Really Statin Intolerance? ACC’s New App Helps Clinicians Decide

Kim_Birtcher_HeadshotThis post was authored by Kim Birtcher, MS, PharmD, AACC, chair of the ACC’s LDL: Address the Risk Oversight Workgroup.

The benefits of statin therapy in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) are well documented; however, statins remain underutilized for both primary and secondary prevention. Two years ago the ACC launched its LDL: Address the Risk Initiative with the goal of closing this disparity in care and improving patient outcomes by increasing awareness of the gaps in lipid management, including the importance of managing LDL-related risks. Continue reading

FDA Hot Topics: Two Novel Drug Approvals, User Fee Act Reauthorization and Off-Label Marketing

Kovacs headshotThis post was authored by Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC, member of ACC’s Board of Trustees.

It’s been a busy summer for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) news. Several key decisions made by the Agency and the courts in recent months are sure to impact medicine in the months and years to come.

Of course the big FDA headline in July was the Agency’s approval of the first proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitor – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ Praluent (alirocumab) – for the treatment of patients with familial hypercholesterolemia or clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in conjunction with maximally tolerated statin therapy and diet modification. The FDA is expected to make a decision about a second PCSK9 inhibitor – Amgen’s Repatha (evolocumab) – later this summer. This new class of lipid-lowering drugs has the potential to offer millions of patients with high LDL-C an alternative treatment option to statins, which have been associated with numerous side effects for decades. Continue reading

MOC Update: ABIM Provides Further Details on MOC Part II/CME Collaboration

Oetgen,WilliamThis post was authored by William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC, executive vice president for ACC’s Science, Education and Quality.

In April, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced plans to provide more opportunities for physicians to earn Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part II points for activities with a self-assessment component that have traditionally been designated as CME credits only. Specifically, ABIM indicated it would develop ways to recognize most forms of CME approved by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), thus “allowing new and more flexible ways” for physicians to demonstrate self-assessment of medical knowledge. Continue reading

ACC Board Issues Guidance on Next Steps in MOC Effort

This post was authored by ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC.

Each August the ACC’s Board of Trustees comes together for a mid-year check-in on College activities and progress towards strategic goals. This meeting is also an important time for College leaders to make decisions relating to hot issues that have emerged since the last meeting in March.

This year’s meeting was no different, with ACC leaders and staff presenting on efforts to date around the College’s four strategic themes of population health, transformation of care, purposeful education, and member value and engagement. However, one of the hottest topics at this year’s meeting was the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) controversial Maintenance of Certification (MOC) policies and how to move forward in a manner that best meets the needs of internal medicine physicians and the patients they serve. Continue reading

The Magic of Mentorship

FreemanThis post was authored by Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, immediate past chair of the ACC’s Early Career Section.

Doesn’t it feel good to be taken under some bigwig’s wing and be guided on a path that might otherwise be difficult to find on your own? Wouldn’t it be great if someone could show you how to do something with great success without all the typical sputtering? Can you imagine being associated with someone so well known it brings you, the little-known-newbie, into the spotlight too?

If you answered yes to any of these, you have begun to see the magic of what is known as mentorship. Mentorship takes many forms – from a senior partner telling you how to impress referring physicians, to a professor emeritus giving you the hints you need to get that National Institutes of Health grant, to a middle-career clinician teaching you how to open those chronic total occlusions – and many others. In short, it is building “upon the shoulders” of those who came before – the “giants” in our career. Continue reading

Population Health and Primary Prevention in the Spotlight

MartinThis post was authored by Gerard R. Martin, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee.

We’re currently at a crossroads of health care delivery and health promotion. Up until now, we, as cardiovascular professionals, have been laser focused on secondary prevention, only scraping the surface of primary prevention. While technological and educational advances over the last few decades have resulted in a significant reduction of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the U.S., the burden of CVD is set to increase 57 percent by 2020 worldwide.

To adjust to this new landscape, we must shift the paradigm from treatment to prevention and begin moving towards population health if we want to kick CVD off the list as the world’s #1 killer. This is no easy task. Population health – which is at a complex intersection between an increasingly diverse population, an evolving health care system, traditional public health and elaborate social policies – is not easy to define. I can guarantee that each and every one of us has a different perspective on the topic, making it difficult to come to a consensus on how best to move forward. Continue reading

The Future of Graduating ACHD Fellows

ACC_10_05_13_0001This post was authored by Curt J. Daniels, MD, FACC, a member of the ACC’s Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology (ACPC) Section, and a professor of Internal Medicine & Pediatrics at The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect occurring in about one in 100 live births. Incredible advancements in the care of children with CHD have led to improved quality of life and survival, and more patients today reach adulthood than ever before. Because of this, the proportion of children vs. adults with CHD has shifted over the last decade and there are now more adults than children living with CHD by a 2/3rd margin. This is fantastic news for the more than 40,000 infants born with CHD each year in the U.S. Continue reading

ACC on Capitol Hill: Health Information Blocking is a Threat to Patients and Practices

MIrroThis post was authored by Michael J. Mirro, MD, FACC, a member of the ACC’s Informatics and Health Information Technology Task Force.

Today, I had the opportunity to testify on Capitol Hill about the important issue of health information blocking, unforeseen problems that have been created by electronic health records (EHRs), and possible solutions to help improve care during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing titled “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology: Information Blocking and Potential Solutions.”

This spring, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced their aim to accomplish five items related to interoperability of EHRs, including health information blocking, by the end of the year—whether through legislative means or an administrative fix. To accomplish this goal, the Senate HELP Committee has been hard at work soliciting feedback from stakeholder organizations, including the ACC, to help them pave a path forward. Continue reading

Advancing Health IT and Improving Patient Care

The ACC Informatics and Health Information Technology Task Force is charged with the infusion, coordination and harmonization of informatics and health information technology (HIT) into the activities and policies of the College. While Task Force members hail from across the U.S., they are united in their dedication to facilitating, promoting and accelerating the transformation of quality cardiovascular care. These members are hard at work addressing data interoperability, promoting electronic health record (EHR) adoption, coordinating EHR vendor engagement, developing tools and strategies to improve the operational efficiencies and effectiveness of ACC registries, and providing leadership and outreach to internal and external organizations. Continue reading

Remembering a Mentor: William C. Little, MD, FACC

This post was authored by ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC.

The cardiovascular community lost a master clinician, educator, advocate, researcher and mentor last week with the unexpected passing of William C. Little, MD, FACC.

Bill was an internationally renowned cardiologist with research interest in ventricular function. He is credited for research leading to a shift in thinking about atherosclerosis as a systemic process and the ensuing use of aspirin or statins. One of his major research accomplishments was the finding that acute cardiac events often occurred at sites of minimal stenosis. Continue reading