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Case Study

How structural heart programs can build and sustain referral relationships

20 Minute Read


    The challenge

    Referring providers face barriers to ensuring their patients receive aortic valve replacements (AVR) in a timely manner, such as uncertainty about who and where to refer and concerns about the risks. To address these challenges, programs traditionally rely on forums like lunch and learns and symposiums. These are valuable, but don’t engage providers in their patients’ treatment or support long-term referrer relationships.

    The organizations

    • Overlake Medical Center is a 349-bed non-profit regional medical center based in Bellevue, Washington. Their cardiothoracic surgery clinic is staffed with three physicians and four physician assistants.
    • Henry Ford Health has over 250 locations throughout Michigan, including five hospitals. The first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in the U.S. was performed here. The structural heart team at the Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute is comprised of twelve physicians, six nurse practitioners, and one physician assistant.
    • TriStar Centennial Medical Center is a 741-bed facility that is part of TriStar Health, an 11-hospital health system serving Tennessee and southern Kentucky. Structural heart procedures are performed at the TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center, which has 21 physicians and one nurse practitioner.

    The approach

    Structural heart programs can improve their provider outreach strategy by involving referrers in heart team meetings throughout their patients’ care journey, utilizing a tracking platform to identify at-risk referrers, and streamlining referrer and heart team communication through a standardized communication channel.

    The result

    By enhancing the provider outreach strategy, structural heart programs have achieved greater engagement and buy-in from referring providers, growth in AVR volumes, reduced time-to-treatment, and improved satisfaction for both referrers and schedulers.

    Sponsored by
    Edwards Lifesciences logo

    This report is sponsored by Edwards Lifesciences. Advisory Board experts wrote the report, maintained final editorial approval, and conducted the underlying research independently and objectively.



    While structural heart volumes are growing, programs must capitalize on opportunities to better engage, support, and communicate with referrers to maximize volume potential. We’ve identified three strategies to achieve this.


    The three strategies


    • Strategy

      Engage referrers throughout the care pathway

      Read More Collapse
    • Strategy

      Use tracking platform to identify at-risk referrers

      Read More Collapse
    • Strategy

      Streamline communications for referrers and heart team

      Read More Collapse



    Henry Ford Health’s dashboard for appointments via external referring provider
    OPD Appts via RPO from External Referring Providers
    Henry Ford Health’s heat map of RPO RN outreach by year
    Henry Ford Health’s heat map of RPO RN outreach by year

    About the sponsor

    Edwards Lifesciences is the global leader in patient-focused medical innovations for structural heart disease, as well as critical care and surgical monitoring. Driven by a passion to help patients, the company collaborates with the world’s leading clinicians and researchers to address unmet healthcare needs, working to improve patient outcomes and enhance lives.

    Learn more

    This report is sponsored by Edwards Lifesciences, an Advisory Board member organization. Representatives of Edwards Lifesciences helped select the topics and issues addressed. Advisory Board experts wrote the report, maintained final editorial approval, and conducted the underlying research independently and objectively. Advisory Board does not endorse any company, organization, product or brand mentioned herein.

    To learn more, view our editorial guidelines.

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