Facing a future with fewer cardiologists

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Candace Stuart - FOR LEAD ONLY - 157.40 Kb

Will it become increasingly difficult to find the talent needed to run a cardiovascular business unit? A survey by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) suggests the answer is “yes.”

The ACC recently polled 200 hospital executives and cardiovascular professionals about areas of top concern. The financial pinch from any number of causes—lower reimbursement, higher costs, to name a few—still weighs heavily on professionals’ minds and ledgers. Reimbursement and financial issues were among the most pressing challenges for both C-level executives and cardiovascular professionals.  

But almost a quarter responded that recruiting cardiovascular staff also was among their biggest challenges. Maintaining appropriate staff levels posed a problem for 10 percent of the C-level respondents and 11 percent of the cardiovascular professional respondents, too.

Considering those stressors, it might be worth reviewing how practices improve or hinder efficiency and patient care.  For instance, one published study found cardiologists sorely wanting when it came to informing patients about elective PCIs and involving them in treatment decisions. Another article suggested that physicians need more education in health IT to fully leverage the potential of EHRs. On the other hand, arming residents with tablet computers reportedly improved their efficiency.

Independent of the ACC survey, our editorial staff has been exploring many of these workforce issues. Given the increasing numbers of baby boomers with chronic health conditions, the imminent retirement of some of the cardiologists who care for these patients and other trends, we asked what the future holds.

Be sure to read the article, which will appear in our April issue. It is one of several stories that provide insights on patient and hospital management, clinical trends, data issues and other matters related to running a cardiovascular practice. For a free subscription, go here.

Please share your experiences, concerns and management strategies any time by emailing me at the address below.

Candace Stuart, editor

Cstuart@Cardiovascularbusiness.com