ACC to imagers: Here’s a chance to get involved

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As one of the largest sections in American College of Cardiology (ACC), the imaging community is expected to play a key role in its ongoing efforts to improve patient care and outcomes while lowering costs, ACC leaders wrote in the May issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging.

Shalom Jacobovitz, ACC CEO; Neil J. Weissman, MD, immediate past chair of the ACC’s Cardiovascular Imaging Section; and Prem Soman, MD, PhD, section chair, outlined the college’s strategic long-term plan and highlighted opportunities for imaging specialists to contribute. While the central goal is to provide a professional meeting place for cardiovascular caregivers, the plan also is meant to be flexible enough to adjust to changes in the healthcare environment.

Those changes include several Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ incentive programs that were designed to improve care and efficiency. For instance, initiatives that rewarded cardiovascular specialists for participating in quality reporting and the use of EHRs now are switching to financial penalties for not participating.

“These programs also provide an opportunity for the multimodality imager who helps ensure that the right imaging test is done for the patient that provides the highest value for the clinical situation,” they wrote.

The ACC identified six strategies for achieving its goals: maximizing member effectiveness; transforming care; improving population health; education; advocacy; and using data to improve practice. “At the heart of each of these key strategies is the appropriate and effective use of cardiovascular imaging to help members thrive and deliver high-quality, patient-centered, cost-effective care.”

Noting that imaging often is a target in governmental cost-cutting activities, they encouraged cardiovascular imagers to participate in advocacy activities. That might involve meeting and educating policy makers and legislators about issues or helping to refine messaging and responses to legislation.

Imagers also will have opportunities to help develop or update appropriate use criteria and other clinical documents, they wrote.