I have often said the men and women who make up ACC’s Board of Governors (BOG) are the College’s feet on the ground – meeting the needs of cardiovascular professionals where they live and work. As such, the BOG plays a critical role in the success of ACC programs and tools. This weekend’s BOG meeting underscored the importance of this role as member leaders engaged in discussions around how best to move the College’s strategic vision forward. In particular, leaders addressed shared decision making tools, educational programs and products, involvement in hospital and outpatient-based clinical data registries, increasing member value, top cardiovascular advocacy issues, potential partnerships and more.
Minnow Walsh, MD, FACC, and JoAnne Foody, MD, FACC, facilitated a great discussion around shared decision making and the piloting of a new patient-decision aide early next year. They highlighted the benefits of shared decision making in encouraging behavior change, increasing patient knowledge, and even driving payment innovation. The desire for a tool that works with older patients (and perhaps even their family members) was raised by several BOG members. Being able to track patient use of tools and outcomes were also stressed as desired features of any shared decision making tools.
On the educational front, BOG members heard about ACC college-wide efforts to provide personalized, competency-based and clinically relevant educational experiences for its members. Former BOG Chair Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, highlighted the new ACC Journal Club as one way the College is leveraging technologies and addressing member requests for programs that are relevant, easy-to-use and help with meeting certification requirements. (Journal Club takes place every third Wednesday of the month, with the next one occurring at 8 pm on Sept. 17 and focused on the pivotal PARADIGM-HF Trial.) The new ACC.org website launching later this year is another example of efforts to personalize member interactions with the College and ensure they are both valuable and meaningful. Stay tuned!
ACC’s clinical data registries and related tools and programs were also a focus of discussion. A survey of BOG members found lack of information, time constraints, costs and ease of use to be barriers to registry use. Fellow Mississippian Thad Waites, MD, FACC, offered a look at ways his hospital is overcoming these barriers and using NCDR data to track and improve care, while Blair Erb, MD, FACC, provided an important update on the outpatient PINNACLE Registry – an increasingly beneficial and easy-to-use vehicle for participating in federal incentive programs like the Physician Quality Reporting System, satisfying MOC Part IV requirements, and/or decreasing medical liability costs. “We’ve moved beyond a labor love to finding real benefits,” Dr. Erb noted.
The BOG is committed to more closely aligning with the NCDR and debunking myths surrounding registry use and finding ways to overcome both perceived and real barriers. Whether it’s finding ways to encourage members to take advantage of the data at their fingertips or serving as ambassadors for NCDR-based programs like Quality Improvement for Institutions and Surviving MI, opportunities abound to demonstrate the power of data and measurement.
Heading into the Legislative Conference later this evening, there was also good discussion around advocacy issues and value-based payment. The importance of participation in the ACC’s Political Action Committee and continued involvement of Fellows in Training and Early Career Professionals in advocacy efforts were also highlighted. I’m always energized and impressed coming out of these meetings by the work being done by College leaders and staff to benefit each and every cardiovascular professional. The thoughtful perspectives offered by leaders based on their personal experiences, as well as experiences of the members in the states they serve, are also critical to ensuring this work is as effective and usable as possible.