ACC Corner: Let’s be ’CardioSmart’

 
 
 
 - William Zoghbi, MD, FACC
 

A recent survey of cardiologists conducted by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) shows that cardiologists are practicing what they preach and are stewards of their everyday prevention messaging to patients. The survey included results from more than 650 physicians using the ACC’s CardioSurve panel, a panel of cardiologists representing the “voice of cardiology.”

Results showed almost eight out of 10 cardiologists reported that they exercise at least three to four times a week. More than 40 percent reported exercising five to seven days a week. In addition, more than 45 percent cited medical knowledge about the consequences of a lack of exercise as a motivation to stick with it.

The biggest motivators to exercise and eat well were staying fit, remaining healthy as they age, feeling healthy and improving their quality of life. Maintaining healthy weight, reducing stress and feeling good about themselves were also top motivators.

These results are encouraging as we look to change behaviors and lead by example through the CardioSmart initiative. CardioSmart is designed to help cardiovascular patients better manage their own care and serve as an extension of an office visit.

The newly redesigned CardioSmart.org website features enriched content and a collection of new features and tools designed to  provide the right information to the right patient at the right time. Decision support tools, calculators and trackers help enhance the patient-provider relationship. In addition, an array of educational content will ensure, regardless of the diagnosis, that patients have access to authoritative information on their condition. Further, through a challenge and incentive program, CardioSmart empowers consumers to take an active role by participating in simple, everyday strategies that help prevent and manage heart health.

Another effort – CardioSmartTV – aims to help physicians reach their patients with heart healthy messaging in waiting rooms. Special programming geared toward patients about new treatments and therapies, simple steps to reduce risks, basic information about disease states or the human body in general, and more, is available for free to ACC members.

In addition, with the increase in use of technologies such as Smartphones, tablets and e-readers, mobile devices are now a part of our everyday lives. These technologies have become increasingly popular over the past few years and have the ability to be truly transformative in our work flow as well as the way we communicate with one another other globally. To that end, the ACC has developed several mobile resources for providers and their patients.

The CardioSmart Explorer App for the iPad 2, is available exclusively to members of the ACC. The app is designed to enhance the clinician/patient relationship at the point of care and gives patients an understanding of their condition with the goal of leading to more informed follow-up appointments. Physicians can review and discuss common heart problems and treatment options by utilizing the app’s high-resolution cardiac graphics and animation, as well as walk step-by-step through the structure of an animated 3-D beating heart by swiping up or down through seven basic layers of normal cardiac anatomy.

CardioSmart also offers a free CardioSmart Med Reminder app designed to help patients take their medications as prescribed in addition to serving as a personal medication record (PMR) to help patients communicate to their healthcare providers about medications.

For patients looking for tips to prevent cardiovascular disease or to quit smoking, CardioSmart offers free SMS text messaging services. The ACC also has partnered with consumer and nonprofit organizations to spread the word about heart health and to educate the public on the importance of diet and exercise as aspects of a heart healthy lifestyle. Initiatives include community outreach events and greater awareness through social media platforms with Twitter chats focused on women’s heart health and more.

The overall goal of these initiatives and activities is to do our part in combating cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death, and preventing cardiovascular disease from becoming an even greater global epidemic. I encourage you to utilize these resources and share them with patients. For more information, visit CardioSmart.org.

Dr. Zoghbi is president of the ACC .