You Canít Afford to Miss This Yearís ACC Cardiovascular Summit

Thursday, January 24, 2019 | Joseph Sasson, Ph.D.


Continuous learning and professional networking are important tenets of any leader’s growth and development. A great way to get a little of both is to attend this year’s American College of Cardiology (ACC) Cardiovascular Summit being held in Orlando on February 14-16.

This year’s program is rich with relevant sessions for practice administrators and physicians who are working to build their programs, deliver excellent patient care, and transform their programs to prepare for big changes in payment mechanisms and technological innovation.

Every one of this year’s presenters, panels, and sessions are top notch. You can’t go wrong, no matter which sessions you choose to attend. Based on what I’m hearing from members, I’ve highlighted a few of the sessions that I think have particular relevance this year.

Thursday, February 14

There are four terrific workshop opportunities on Thursday afternoon. With so many people discussing population health strategies, I wanted to mention one in particular: Managing the Risk of a Population: How Should I Be Accountable?

This is a great choice if you are looking for ways that cardiologists could be measured on population health metrics as we progress. In most systems, accountability for population health is given to primary care physicians or the ACO, yet managing population risk for complex cardiovascular conditions requires the expertise of a cardiologist. Furthermore, it’s about the collaboration models between cardiologists and PCP’s that can make these population health management activities harmonious or disjointed, so come hear about what’s effective across the country and be a part of the discussion.

It’s hard enough to do population health when it’s a multispecialty group on the same EHR, let alone when you are collaborating with multiple specialties and practices who aren’t on the same systems. Richard Kovacs, MD, FACC and Michael Romano from Navigant will lay out some tenets of how to create optimal solutions.

Friday, February 15

Friday morning will start off with a powerful opening session presentation featuring Michael Chernow, PhD from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Chernow will provide insight into the driving forces creating the need for healthcare to change in the next ten years, and demonstrate why value-based care strategies won’t disappear anytime soon.

I believe this talk is going to be a great stage setter for the morning joint society session that follows: Structural Heart teams: Partnering for Success. Seven physicians representing the perspectives from multiple CV societies will give their thoughts about why multidisciplinary teams are critical to the success of CV programs. The discussion will cover how teams must work, coordinate, make decisions, and plan for successful patient outcomes. The panel will also discuss ways to handle payment when some of the work is not billable/reimbursable.

Each CV society may have its own goals, but regardless of skill set, everyone has the shared goal of improving patient care and quality. The experiences of the physicians on this panel are going to provide powerful learnings for how we can drive care forward by aligning disciplines in a delivery model instead of working in silos.

Moving on to Friday’s morning workshops, here are two worth considering:

Data Tsunami: Handling the Deluge from Cardiovascular Wearables and Sensors. How many of your programs are bracing for the deluge of data that will soon be coming at you from patient activity data, ECD tracings, PA pressures, and other wearable devices? If you are looking for ways to proactively attack this trend by building it into a strategy for providing care that acquires, manages, and analyzes data efficiently, you’ll find value in attending.
Moving Past Anger: Practical Steps to Improve EHR Utilization. If data from wearables isn’t much of an annoyance yet, but your EHR is, join my colleague Joel Sauer, VP of Consulting at MedAxiom, and Dr. R. Jeffrey Wescott, MD, FACC from Swedish Medical Group, for some easy to implement solutions in which the return on investment will be worth the efforts of EHR adaptation. The presenters have some simple but essential strategies that can make a real difference in efficiency and provider satisfaction.

MedAxiom’s VP of Consulting Ginger Biesbrock is also presenting on Friday morning. Her workshop It Takes a Village: Utilizing APPs and the Whole Cardiovascular Care Team is not to be missed if you are looking for ways to keep everyone on the clinical team working in sync and at the top of their license. Achieving and maintaining both will be critical to winning in a value-based environment and providing optimal patient care and experience. Ginger will be joined by Robert Shor, MD, FACC from The Cardiovascular Group, and James Daniel, Jr., JD, MBA from Hancock, Daniel, Johnson & Nagle, PC.

On Friday (Thursday too), don’t forget to take some time during break periods to visit the exhibit hall. We’ve worked hard this year to assemble a cadre of product and service offerings that will help programs to advance in their care delivery models. Abstracts and posters are important to visit as well. Come see what your colleagues and industry organizations have been working on -- you might find that idea you’ve been looking for.

Saturday, February 16

Don’t book a morning flight home. Day 3 of the Summit delivers a few final delicacies.

Get up early. The 7:30am session, An Honest Look at Population Management, features ACC’s new CEO, Timothy Attebery, DSc, MBA delivering ACC’s vision for population health and the services ACC has available to its members. I think this is a must-attend session to hear firsthand his vision for the college and the direction it is heading.

I also strongly suggest attending the morning workshop, Innovative Methods to Improve Patient Access, which features the experiences of Allina Health / Minneapolis Heart Institute, in Minneapolis, MN. Speakers will focus on how they used technology platforms and apps for things such as telehealth visits and curbside consults. This will be a great session with lots of lessons about using technology for continuity of care, remote care monitoring, acquiring market share, and more.

As you can see, I’m bullish on this year’s content. The Summit is covering some critical topics and you'll get a lot for your investment of dollars and time. It’s also worth noting that the college continues to support professional development by including sessions on leadership, clinician well-being, and mitigating burnout.

Many of us from MedAxiom will be available at the Summit and I hope those of you planning to attend will stop by and share your successes and challenges over the last year with us. We enjoy celebrating your accomplishments as well as supporting your growth. See you in Orlando!

Illustration: Lee Sauer 


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