The Relationship Between FITs and Industry

Akhil Narang headshotThis post was authored by Akhil Narang, MD, a fellow-in-training at the University of Chicago.

As a trainee in internal medicine it was rare for me to have any contact with the pharmaceutical industry. There were no representatives at breakfast passing out information sheets on medications. There were no industry-sponsored lunches or dinner lectures.

However, after starting my cardiology fellowship it has become apparent that a relationship with industry is more complex. After speaking to colleagues around the country, I’ve learned that it’s common (and arguably important) to have industry representatives present (at times) in the cath or electrophysiology labs. Whether it’s using a new atherectomy system for a complex percutaneous coronary intervention case or a novel ablation catheter, these representatives provide needed technical support for clinicians. In addition, they provide education to the fellows and the support staff. Continue reading

How to Talk to Patients About Nutrition

Jane CasselThis post was authored by Jane Cassel, PA-C, cardiovascular team member of the ACC’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section Leadership Council.

Working in an acute coronary unit exposes me to several situations that cause me to think about the future of heart disease that provides me with a source of employment. Census data show that coronary artery disease and related mortality has decreased significantly in the recent decades, however, heart disease is still the number one killer among men and women in certain age groups in the U.S. Even with that information, fighting the disease from progressing continues to be a goal that I don’t see will ever become a null product. Continue reading

Navigating the ACC.15 Sports and Exercise Cardiology Sessions

Emery_Michael_MD_6-11-14_NOCOATThis post was authored by Michael S. Emery, MD, FACC, co-chair of the ACC’s Sports and Exercise Cardiology Section Leadership Council.

The ACC’s Annual Scientific Session is the cornerstone of ACC education and there are several exciting sports and exercise cardiology sessions planned for this year in San Diego. Be sure to go to the ACC.15 Online Program Planner and/or download the ACC.15 App, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores, and navigate to the “Sessions by Practice Focus – Browse Sports Cardiology” for a comprehensive listing. Continue reading

TVT Registry Collaboration Creates Hope For Future Biomedical Innovation

John-Carroll-MD_CARDIOMAGThis post was authored by John D. Carroll, MD, FACC, member of The STS/ACC TVT Registry Steering Committee.

“Biomedical innovation represents the best and enables the worst of our health care system,” began Alan Weil, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, at the opening of the publication’s briefing on a recent issue, which featured panel discussions with featured authors. A majority of the authors’ findings were overwhelmingly positive for the future of medicine, including one study which showed the evolution of biotechnology and its impact on health care over the past 35 years. Ronald A. Evens, MD, author of the study, remarked “biotech molecules have dramatically altered heath care for many unmet medical needs across all medical disciplines.”

During the panel on medical devices, I presented the recently published Health Affairs paper, “Transcatheter Valve Therapy Registry Is A Model For Medical Device Innovation And Surveillance,” showing that advances in biotechnology go beyond the molecules to include the actual systems that track and record who receives biotech devices and how they respond to them. In the paper, we took a close look at the STS/ACC TVT Registry, which is a model of collaboration among professional societies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, hospitals, patients, and the medical device industry. Continue reading

How to Talk to Patients About Smoking

This post was authored by Lekshmi Santhosh, MD, Trevor Jensen, MD and Eric Stecker, MD, MPH, FACC, member of the ACC’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section.

There are many demands on clinicians’ time. But what distinguishes cardiologists is an unyielding commitment to engage in care that is proven to reduce morbidity and mortality. These efforts have paid off; the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease decreased 50 percent over 20 years, with half of that decline attributable to cardiovascular care. Few other specialties can point to such a dramatic impact.

But we can do better. Overall, 18 percent of American adults and 37 percent of cardiology patients still place themselves at significant risk by smoking. General cardiologists and subspecialists are in a unique position to focus patients’ attention on the benefits of quitting smoking at moments when they are maximally engaged in improving health. It can be very motivating for a patient to hear that the average person will extend his or her life by 4-10 years by quitting smoking! Even patients with many comorbidities experience improvements in length and quality of life from quitting smoking, often within six months. Continue reading

ACC.15: Why Should CV Administrators Attend?

C.-Biga-Full_ADJ BOT2011_Itchhaporia_4437_CROPThis post was authored by Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, and Cathie Biga, MSN, RN, co-chairs of the CV Administrator Workgroup.

As ACC.15 draws near, we want to remind CV Administrators of the robust and exciting agenda specifically targeted for Practice Management. In fact, this year ACC.15 will offer a Practice Management track with 40 sessions to choose from.

Highlighted sessions include:

  • “Practice Management: A Comprehensive Update on Trends in The Cardiovascular Service Line”  Saturday, March 14 from 8 – 9:30 a.m. This session will provide a comprehensive update on the trends in the cardiovascular service line. Governance, quality metrics, dashboard development, and comp distribution will all be covered by industry experts.
    Continue reading

Striving to Improve Quality Cardiovascular Care

BRINDIS_BOT_2010This post was authored by Ralph G. Brindis, MD, MPH, MACC, senior medical officer of external affairs for the NCDR.

An article published today in U.S. News and World Report asks the question, “Are Doctors Exposing Heart Patients to Unnecessary Cardiac Procedures?” The article strongly implies that many doctors who are performing unnecessary procedures are doing so in order to “reap the benefits in Medicare payments.” The ACC acknowledges that there is a marked variation in percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) rates and there are indeed nationwide opportunities to improve appropriate patient case selection for PCI. This assessment is not the same of the authors’ implications of “reaping the benefits of Medicare payments.” Continue reading

A Story of Perseverance: Minority Women in Cardiology

Ponce, SoniaThis post was authored by Sonia G. Ponce, MD, a fellow in training at the University of New Mexico and a member of the ACC’s Women in Cardiology Member Section.

Young women from impoverished parts of rural Mexico are not expected to pursue much education or professional careers. The lack of expectations is driven by many factors, most rooted in our patriarchal society. As a young girl, I became aware of huge gender inequities and feared my fate as a woman. But as I grew older, I was determined to not let poverty and gender inequality hold me back. I committed myself to my own education and set down the path of becoming a doctor. Continue reading

Empowering Women to Attain Careers in Science: An Update From the ACC’s NY Chapter WIC Meeting

This poContreras, Johannast was authored by Natalie A. Bello, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center, and Johanna Paola Contreras, MD, MSc, FACC, assistant professor of Cardiology, Heart Failure and Transplant at Mount Sinai Hospital. Both are members of the ACC’s Women in Cardiology Section.

The ACC New York State Chapter of the ACC’s Women in Cardiology (WIC) Member Section recently hosted its annual networking event at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan. The gathering was a unique mix of women at all stages of their careers from fellows in training and junior faculty through more senior women, representing both private practice and academics.

Over a delightful spread of heart healthy food and beverages, conversations ranged from starting a job search or running a practice in today’s health care environment to catching up with old friends and making new ones. Continue reading

Entering the “Real” World: Life After Training

Mehta, AnjleeThis post was authored by Anjlee Mehta, MD, a member of the ACC Women in Cardiology Member Section and assistant professor in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, TX.

As fellows-in-training are acutely aware, today’s health care environment is rapidly changing. Paralleling these changes in health care is an ever-evolving job market. With cuts in research funding, training grants and reimbursements, today’s job market isn’t even comparable to a few years ago, and it is even less similar to the market many more established cardiologists may remember. How do graduating fellows navigate this uncharted territory?

As I started writing this article, I realized just how much variability there is amongst the factors that one considers when choosing a job. Proximity to family, financial compensation, location, climate, practice environment, malpractice environment, work hours, benefits and numerous other factors all play into an individual’s decision tree when selecting a job. Continue reading