Science, art & strategy

Physicians say medicine is part science and part art. These days many need to squeeze strategy into the formula.

Science provides the clinical knowledge and art the ability to place knowledge and experience in the context of an individual patient. To work at their best, cardiologists need a functional environment. They require the appropriate resources and support to practice at their highest level, with an understanding of how their choices fit into the greater scheme of healthcare.

If you need a barometer of this shift, look at the scientific sessions of the major cardiovascular societies. This week the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) is holding its annual conference in San Diego with a repeat performance of the Cath Lab Leadership Boot Camp. Planners tailored the event, now in its second year, to help managers, directors and other members of the cath lab team run an efficient, high-quality program. That includes eliminating red ink and barriers to success.

The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) will roll out its scientific sessions May 13-16 in Boston. As with SCAI, HRS lined up some intriguing late-breaking clinical trials that are likely to draw large audiences. Organizers also interspersed practice management-related topics throughout the conferences, with sessions that look at where electrophysiology was and is going, emerging opportunities for electrophysiologists, the changing economics and reimbursement issues.

The current issue of Cardiovascular Business includes a cover story that applies to both the SCAI and HRS memberships. It focuses on workflow in the cath lab, which can be the bane of both interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists if it is not handled well. Increasing pressure to meet benchmarks—quality measures, financial goals, patient satisfaction, to name a few—have made cath lab service lines critical.

That is one area where strategy plays a role. Cath labs have to change to keep up with the times, whether that change means integrating new technologies, procedures or processes into the service line or weeding out inefficiencies and waste. Strategies that are well conceived, well communicated and well executed will minimize disruption and facilitate adoption.

Ultimately, smart strategy ensures that the science and art of medicine that is employed today to an individual patient will be available tomorrow, to others in need of care.

Candace Stuart

Editor, Cardiovascular Business