Helping Congress Transform Cardiovascular Care

This post was authored by Michelle Hadley, DO, a fellow in training at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA.

I have always wanted to be impactful. In October, I attended ACC’s 2015 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. We met with our representatives on the House side, as well as with our senators. Unfortunately at that time, my district congressman was not in DC. Therefore, I took it upon myself to schedule a meeting in Worcester, MA, to meet with him.

Rep. Jim McGovern’s (D-MA) office was a big, open floor plan. All the side doors were open and every turn seemed to be greeted with a smiling face. Before I had time to completely take off my coat, the congressman walked out to introduce himself and extended his hand with a pleasant smile.  Continue reading

Taking a Closer Look at Centralized Systems of Care

Kovacs headshotThis post is authored by Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Clinical Quality Committee.

As a result of continued hospital and practice integration, as well as an ongoing evolution to a health care system focused on value, not volume, a trend towards more highly centralized and organized systems of care is emerging as a means of meeting the triple aim of improved outcomes, better care and lower costs.

As a concept, centralized care allows for common standards and goals across a system, making identifying problems or gaps in care, monitoring progress and achieving results more streamlined and arguably easier. However, moving from concept to reality does have its challenges given the need for alignment among a diverse group of stakeholders across the care continuum, as well as the need to overcome clinical, administrative and macroeconomic factors that differ from system to system.

Continue reading

Cardiovascular Summit: Disruptive Solutions For the CV Care Team

ValentineThis post was authored by C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, incoming vice president of the ACC and course co-director of the 2016 Cardiovascular Summit.

As clinicians, we strive day in and day out to provide high-quality, patient-centered, cost-efficient care to our patients. In a time of rapid health care change, balancing all of this while also striving to achieve operational excellence and financial success is challenging to say the least.

Recognizing the need for solutions to help cardiovascular professionals thrive in this time of change, Howard T. Walpole, MD, MBA, FACC, Pamela S. Douglas, MD, MACC, and I started the Cardiovascular Summit several years back. Since then, the course has evolved to meet the current needs of entire the cardiovascular care team. Continue reading

National Cardiac Rehab Week: Encouraging Patient Education and Participation

Richard Josephson headshot Derin Tugal headshotThis post was authored by Richard A. Josephson, MS, MD, FACC, member of the ACC Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section Leadership Council, and Derin Tugal, MD, a fellow in training at Case Medical Center, University Hospitals of Cleveland and a member of the ACC Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section.

Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) offers patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), recent revascularizations or cardiac surgery, or heart failure, a comprehensive individualized program of supervised exercise, health education, advice on lifestyle behavior modification, physical activity and psychological stress management. There is growing appreciation of the benefit of exercise-based cardiac rehab on reduced cardiovascular mortality, morbidity, unplanned hospitalizations, exercise capacity, health-related quality of life and psychological well-being. Continue reading

American Heart Month: Making Informed Care Decisions

Williams HeadshotThis post was authored by Kim Allan Williams Sr. MD, FACC, president of the ACC.

At the beginning of each new year, we make resolutions to create healthier habits, typically we try new activities and engage more with friends and family. February is American Heart Month – a month dedicated to raising awareness of cardiovascular disease and the benefits of heart health – and is a great time to renew or continue these resolutions – especially those related to health – so they become lifelong habits.

This year the ACC is taking part in several activities to raise awareness for Heart Month, with a particular focus on patient engagement and making informed care decisions. The month will also focus on initiatives within the College and ACC’s CardioSmart, including calling attention to special awareness weeks for congenital heart disease (Feb. 7 – 13), cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) (Feb. 14 – 21) and heart failure (Feb. 14 – 21). Continue reading

The Stethoscope Lives

Williams HeadshotThis post was authored by Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, president of the ACC.

A recently published Washington Post article, “Heart doctors are listening for clues to the future of their stethoscopes,” highlights important issues in cardiology, claiming that the stethoscope “is having a crossroads moment.”

The stethoscope is certainly not dead. Recent digital technology has upgraded the functionality of stethoscopes.  They now allow volume accentuation and frequency selection, as well as digital file transfer for teaching on rounds, competence testing, or audio file archival for comparison with prior or future recordings. Continue reading

Roundtable Discusses Periprocedural Management of Anticoagulation and Management of Bleeding

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

Anticoagulation management is a rapidly-evolving field, presenting challenges to clinicians across a broad range of specialties. With new reversal agents on the horizon, there is a critical need for guidance. In an effort to better guide clinicians to address the evolving challenges of anticoagulation care, the ACC brought together a number of stakeholders across the health care spectrum for its third Anticoagulation Consortium Roundtable this past weekend. 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

5 Tips For Integrating Sports Cardiology Into Your Practice

Dr.VyselaarThis post was authored by John Vyselaar, MD, member of the ACC’s Sports and Exercise Cardiology Section.

Many of us have multiple roles in our work, and are very busy. I am privileged to consult for professional soccer and football teams, snowboarding and skiing organizations, and professional athletes from other sports. I also have been involved with high-level amateur athletes. However, I am a practicing full-time general cardiologist. I carry a heavy patient load, instruct medical students, residents and fellows, participate in clinical trials, and have become a co-leader of my division at my local hospital.

I hear a common refrain from many practicing cardiologists – they love sports and find sports cardiology fascinating, but are not sure how they could get involved or incorporate this into their busy lives. Here are five tips, from my own experience, that may be helpful: Continue reading

The Opportunity of Cardiac Rehab

Melissa Tracy headshotThis post was authored by Melissa Tracy, MD, FACC, section chief, non-invasive cardiology, Division of Cardiology at RUSH University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, and a member of the ACC’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section Leadership Council.

We are a country of opportunity. We are a society of diversity. We should all be treated with the best care possible. A recent update on the regional referral to cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) after angioplasty published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that we are not doing just that.  We must change from a SICK care model to a HEALTH care model. Continue reading