The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) delayed the launch of a new episode payment model affecting three types of cardiac care, pushing the July 1 start date to 2018. That doesn’t mean providers and hospitals should throttle back on bundles’ preparations.

As the U.S. transitions toward new payment models, healthcare organizations are rethinking how specialized postacute care clinics figure into efforts to improve patients’ outcomes and reduce costs.

For all the talk of the need to more closely tie physicians’ compensation to quality care and value, productivity continues to dominate payment schemes. Still, some cardiology groups are finding ways to shift from volume toward value using strategies built off their histories and cultures.

The role of some cardiac device makers is evolving in the cath lab as they expand from selling products to providing services and solutions. It's a trend that is likely to continue globally.

The vision was clear. The experienced heart and vascular team at the Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute in Chicago needed a cardiovascular information system (CVIS) to stretch across its seven hospitals and 100 ambulatory care centers, physician offices and clinics. 

Data are an essential support for administrators and clinicians working together in healthcare. Choose datasets that reflect the practice’s goals and priorities, help you maintain a pulse on the health of the practice and spark the conversations that you and your leadership partner(s) must have to function at your combined best.

Among sweeping changes underway in U.S. healthcare is a brighter spotlight on patients' transitions from hospital to home. What can be done to reduce readmissions during these vulnerable periods and possibly save billions of dollars in the process? Increasingly, an answer lies with mobile integrated teams of providers, often led by paramedics, who take healthcare right into patients' homes.

The need for permanent pacemakers in patients with severe aortic stenosis who undergo transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) remains a complication, even as TAVR expands into lower-risk groups. That may prove to be a limitation, especially with younger patients who may have decades of life ahead of them.

A plan for increasing use of cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab, or CR) was a few months short of launch when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tapped the brakes.  

Physicians in fields like cardiology have traditionally looked to clinical practice guidelines to help articulate the best evidence-based care for patients. The rapidly growing movement to value-based care is prompting clinicians—including echocardiographers—to carefully weigh a more focused and integrative approach to delivering consistent, quality medicine: care pathways.

With the launch of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), hundreds of thousands of U.S. clinicians will face new reporting requirements. Participation in a registry, a familiar quality improvement activity for many cardiology programs, could provide a solution.     

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association say that palliative care should be integrated into the care of all patients with advanced cardiovascular disease and stroke as a means to relieve symptoms, improve patients’ satisfaction with their care, reduce costs and extend survival (Circulation 2016;134[11]: e198-225). Yet, according to 2015 data from the National Palliative Care Registry, only 13 percent of palliative care patients had a cardiac diagnosis. This finding signals the need for both increased referrals to palliative care and more training for cardiovascular specialists in core palliative care skills.