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3 innovative strategies to improve structural heart, HF, and ECMO care

By Jinia Sarkar

February 1, 2022

    In early December 2021, the Cardiovascular Roundtable hosted its first-ever innovation showcase. Eight organizations presented impactful and innovative solutions they implemented in the past year to their peers and Advisory Board experts.

    Here are our showcase highlights on the eight innovative strategies to improve cardiovascular care.

    Showcase attendees evaluated and voted on each strategy based on creativity, impact, and durability. Read on to dive deeper into our top three innovations.   

    1. How Holographic Therapy Guidance (HTG) boosts structural heart procedure quality

    Who: CentraCare is an eight-hospital not-for-profit system headquartered in St. Cloud, Minnesota. CentraCare's Structural Heart and Valve Clinic provides innovative treatment options for patients with complex heart issues.

    What: CentraCare's Heart and Vascular Center used EchoPixel's pre-planning True3D and HTG software. The technology offers mixed reality capabilities, enabling structural heart care teams to interact with a holographic version of the patient's anatomy in real time without touching the patient physically or exposing them to contrast and radiation.  

    Why: With a growing structural heart program, CentraCare aimed to improve outcomes while providing less-invasive cardiac transcatheter therapies to patients. From May to December of 2021, CentraCare completed over 30 procedures with the HTG software. The technology reduced procedure times by more than 27%, increased optimal procedure outcomes by 20%, and allowed left atrial appendage occlusion and significant renal disease patients, who cannot be exposed to contrast, to undergo transcatheter procedures.

    2. How Congestive Heart Active Management Program (CHAMP) improves heart failure (HF) patient care outside of the hospital

    Who: Dignity Health is a 39-hospital not-for-profit system serving Arizona, California, and Nevada.

    What: CHAMP is a round-the-clock call center that provides resources and education to HF patients referred from inpatient units, the heart failure clinic, outpatient medical offices, emergency department, and cardiac rehab. The support team is staffed by experienced cardiovascular service line nurses, who reach out to HF patients at established increments post-discharge. The nurses check patients' heart failure knowledge, compliance with medication, health goals, and needs. Based on physician-approved and nurse-managed protocols, nurses can alter medications and escalate cases to physicians as necessary.

    Why: CHAMP offers patients additional support and resources outside of the acute setting to handle their condition since its launch at Dignity's Sacramento Heart and Vascular Institute in 2018. As of December 2021, CHAMP had reduced HF readmission rates by 80%, with a 30-day readmission rate of 7% and 90-day readmission rate of 15%. Inpatient costs for CHAMP patients reduced on average by 60% between 2018 and 2021. Moreover, 91% of patients reported being satisfied with CHAMP.

    For more information about CHAMP, read our Build the Next-Generation Heart Failure Program.

    3. How ECMO referral calls bring together care team members to triage patients appropriately

    Who: Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, a regional trauma center, is a 175-bed hospital that is a part of Southern Illinois Healthcare.

    What: Memorial Hospital sends a conference call link through a mass notification system that reaches mobile and on-premises devices of ECMO team members and the referring provider. Call attendees, such as CT surgeons, interventional cardiologists, and pulmonologists, collaborate on a treatment plan using a pre-determined ECMO decision map.  Team members also discuss patients' next steps after there is an accepting bed and provider.

    Why: During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Memorial Hospital faced a rise in ECMO referrals, while bed availability drastically declined and case acuity increased. By developing a reliable communication system among necessary care team members through ECMO referral call protocol from July 2020 to September 2021, consults for possible emergent ECMO procedures were discussed earlier. Additionally, Memorial Hospital was able to expand their services to telehealth ECMO management for patients that could wait for a bed to become available.

    Check out our Cheat Sheet: The Planner's Introduction to ECMO Investment to learn about ECMO program considerations.

    How is your organization innovating on cardiovascular care? Share your story with us by emailing Jinia Sarkar (

    8 innovative strategies to improve cardiovascular care

    Get the highlights from the Cardiovascular Roundtable Innovation Showcase


    The Cardiovascular Roundtable recently hosted its first-ever innovation showcase. This was a collaborative effort to identify and share our industry’s most creative and effective strategies to improve cardiovascular care.

    At the showcase, eight organizations presented innovative strategies they’ve recently implemented to 73 cardiovascular peers and Advisory Board staff. Participants then voted on the three most creative, impactful, and sustainable innovations.

    Read on to celebrate and learn about the full list of innovations from the Cardiovascular Roundtable Innovation Showcase.

    Read more

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