HRS: Societies share goals in joint sessions

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 - Anne Gillis, MD
Anne M. Gillis, MD

Anne M. Gillis, MD, president of the Heart Rhythm Society and a professor at the University of Calgary, will co-chair a joint session on clinical registries on May 9 at Heart Rhythm 2013 in Denver. In a Q&A with Cardiovascular Business, she discussed the evolution of joint sessions and other program details.

Do the joint sessions reflect increasing collaboration among societies and their members?

We initially started the joint sessions in 2010 and we have expanded them each year. The joint sessions with partners such as the American College of Cardiology [ACC], the American Heart Association and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons reflect the fact that they are important organizations with whom we collaborate on scientific and clinical documents as well as advocacy, public awareness and patient education. One of the most important things that we do is partner on guidelines. Doing these joint sessions is a way of highlighting these partnerships for our members.

The joint session with the ACC on registries is an example of an important partnership where, as public reporting of physician outcomes becomes mandatory in 2015, certain registry data will be used. The outcomes will be directly linked to registry data and they will be dependent upon the quality of data inputted. We need to educate our members about this process so we can ensure quality data and also focus on using the data to benchmark and hopefully improve patient care. 

Have the joint sessions changed over the years?

The joint sessions that we have done in the past have been predominantly with our international partners.

Do the sessions with international societies differ?

The international joint sessions are quite varied in topics and speakers. Over 40 percent of attendees at Heart Rhythm are international. These international joint sessions allow us to recognize the international leaders who have contributed to advancing our field, whether it be in research, education or other areas of leadership.

These partnerships are extremely important if we are going to improve access to heart rhythm care and improve the quality of care for patients with heart rhythm disorders around the world. We have this audacious goal of ending death and suffering due to heart rhythm disorders and we can only do that through global collaboration.

Is this also a way to learn best practices?

Absolutely. Last year I had the opportunity to attend a joint session assembled by the Chinese Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology. There was interesting data on ablation practices in China, outcomes and outcomes from other Asian countries. To be able to exchange ideas and [discuss] challenges people face [such as] access to care, helps better inform us and helps us improve our day-to-day quality of practice.

You will be leading a joint session in clinical registries. Can you discuss the current and future role of registries?

We are going to talk about the cardiovascular registry programs and how they potentially will play a role in healthcare reform. The Affordable Care Act has a number of requirements moving forward, and some that will link reimbursement to physician performance. Some ways that [reimbursement] will be measured will be looking at physicians’ participation in registries.

There are a number of cardiovascular registries but the one I am most knowledgeable about is the ICD registry that was mandated when CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] approved expansion of ICD implantation for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death in 2005. The expectation was that a registry would be developed. Important observations have come from that registry, for instance, reporting on complications associated with device implantation. That type of information can be used for benchmarking.

Another interesting observation that has come out of registries to date is on geographic implantation of single chamber vs. dual chamber ICDs. Observations like this can help inform health policy decisions as we move forward.

Registries of course have limitations because they only collect a certain amount of data. The accuracy of the data is important so that the quality of the registry will depend upon the accuracy of the data entry. Longitudinal follow-up may be important in terms of evaluating some components of quality care.  

Heart Rhythm 2013 will run May 8 to 11. Be sure to check for conference coverage.