Cardiovascular Rounds

News, resources, and analysis from the Cardiovascular Roundtable

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Cleveland Clinic's model for shared medical appointments

By Marissa Schwartz October 26, 2015

CV clinical providers face larger workloads and higher volumes. To increase efficiency and maximize productivity, we must consider new strategies. One tactic discussed in the Cardiovascular Roundtable’s study, The Highly Productive Cardiovascular Enterprise, involves shared medical appointments.

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Can't get patients to engage? A contract might.

by Kristen Barlow October 19, 2015

To increase patient activation and encourage participation in their own care, PinnacleHealth in Harrisburg, Penn., designed a heart failure contract that the nurse and patient complete together—a relatively non-resource intensive tactic that can be easily implemented by most cardiovascular programs.

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Parkview Health System's path to 100% patient satisfaction

by Marissa Schwartz October 7, 2015

Patient engagement is increasingly critical in today’s successful CV service line. From perceptions of quality to readmissions rates to downstream revenue, satisfied patients often lead to better outcomes. Particularly in outpatient areas, and with the pressure mounting for same-day discharge, patient education geared toward addressing resistance and aligning expectations promotes a smooth, collaborative, and satisfying experience for patients and hospitals alike.

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Why CV services are overused, and how to fix the problem

By Marissa Schwartz September 2, 2015

There’s no doubt that cardiovascular disease is a killer. As the leading cause of death in the US, CV disease comprises 17% of our nation’s health expenditures, with much of the cost growth linked to noninvasive testing. A recent article published in Circulation reported on the widespread overuse of CV services in the US: the scope of the problem, its causes, and initiatives for change.

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Think readmission reduction is hard? It's about to get harder.

Megan Tooley August 5, 2015

Readmissions have been a key concern for hospital executives ever since the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program was created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010. And it’s no surprise why. Starting in FY 2015, up to 3% of total Medicare inpatient payments were at-risk for hospitals with excessive readmissions for 5 conditions: heart failure, acute myocardial infarction (AMI), pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and knee and hip arthroplasty.

But while readmission reduction isn’t a new priority, it still remains a challenge for most programs. In the third year of penalties, 75% of eligible hospitals faced fines for excess readmissions.

And it’s about to get harder. While programs are still trying to get their footing with managing readmissions for the existing conditions, CMS is adding open heart surgery—coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)—with the payment penalty taking effect October 2016 (FY 2017 for CMS). That means hospitals are already under the microscope: based on previous years, CMS will likely base the first round of penalties on performance from July 2012 to June 2015.

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How Texas Health Resources enhanced CV physician practice and service line integration

By Julie Bass May 1, 2015

The Cardiovascular Roundtable’s CV Physician Alignment Strategy Benchmarking Report revealed a number of surprising facts about CV specialist alignment from a variety of institutions across the country.

Interestingly, only 36% of CV programs have employed physician practices reporting directly to CV service line leadership. This lack of formal oversight of physician practices from the CV service line emphasizes the need for close alignment strategies beyond direct reporting. Texas Health Resources created a shared governance structure they call the Heart and Vascular Leadership Council to further integration between CV practices and the service line.

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What is your time to next appointment—and how can you improve access?

By Kristen Barlow April 13, 2015

Access to cardiovascular care is increasingly being defined by patients who want on-demand access at points of initial entry. If CV programs don’t adjust to accommodate these savvy patients, they risk losing volumes and failing to capitalize on the benefits of a more timely and accessible network.

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New recommendations for echocardiography in acute CV care

By Julie Bass March 4, 2015

The European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging and the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association jointly published echocardiography guidelines in February’s issue of the European Heart Journal (also available online).

The guidelines specifically address practical applications of echocardiography in patients with acute CV conditions—including acute chest pain, heart failure, complications of myocardial infarction, and acute valvular heart disease. We explain the new recommendations below.

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