Given that the American College of Cardiology Conference
(ACC.14) just wrapped up in Washington, D.C. on Monday, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on how the measures of a successful cardiology practice and department have changed for the 21st
To be sure, the mark of truly successful cardiology departments will continue to center directly on their use of innovative treatments, as well as on the clinical skills and expertise of cardiologists, surgeons and other clinicians who are directly responsible for patient care. Cardiology is a team sport, requiring all players to execute at a high level to be successful.
In addition, other important markers of a successful department would consist of the team’s supporting staff – along with their tools and technologies – whose responsibilities are to make for a smooth and complication-free experience for the patients in their care. Here are some additional key items this team should consider:
- Create a cardio record spanning all cardiology modalities. In a field that’s increasingly complex, a patient care record that spans cath, echo, nuclear, vascular, etc. can provide the complete version of the patient picture and reduce duplicative testing, ultimately leading to improved quality of care.
- Access complete patient records with unparalleled electronic health record (EHR) integration. It’s critical that cardiologists know about what images already exist, but more important is their ability to access patient information through a system that’s seamlessly integrated with an EHR. This helps streamline workflow and provides a comprehensive view of a patient’s record.
- Simplify reporting and workflow in the cath lab. Interventional procedures performed in the cardiac cath lab can be extremely complicated and almost no two are ever alike. Documenting these procedures in real-time and providing a comprehensive, user-friendly tool for the cardiologist to create the clinical report are paramount. Having a system that makes this documentation easy while also seamlessly pre-populating the clinical report with this critical data, makes for happy cardiologists, satisfied referring physicians and a profitable cardiology department.
- Expand your referral network. Providing world-class service to referring physicians is a key factor in the success of a cardiology department. Referrals are the lifeblood of any successful cardiology service provider, which is why it’s imperative that your cardiology system produce complete and timely reports back to these referring physicians – in essence – your customers. As we all know, happy customers will spread the word, leading to increased business.
- Enable advanced interoperability with enterprise imaging. It probably comes as no surprise that an enterprise-wide imaging strategy is the secret sauce to a successful cardiology department. Not only can providers improve collaborative care, but they can also reduce costs associated with duplicative testing and provide faster and more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans for improved patient care.
Clinical expertise and treatment efficacy will always occupy center stage when it comes to gauging a cardiology department’s success. But to compete in this competitive and ever- changing landscape, characteristics like image and information interoperability and departmental efficiency will become key differentiators in the battle for referrals and patients.
What strategies have been successful at your organization?