Health IT

The size of cardiovascular studies is one factor forcing health systems and practices to consider the cloud for storage.
Understanding risks, policy costs and potential value can help you decide whether to invest in cyber-liability insurance.
While the WannaCry cyberattack against hospitals, clinics and device makers was largely unsuccessful, future hacks might be used to imperil patients. Experts worry the U.S system is still too vulnerable and health IT departments are under-resourced.  
The business of cardiology was at the forefront of discussion at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) Cath Lab Leadership Boot Camp in May. Speakers focused on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), bundled payment models and value-based reimbursement. Here are a few of the lessons attendees took back to their practices.
Questions have swirled around the value of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for patients whose quality of life has suffered from chronic total occlusion (CTO). Inevitably, another issue has arisen: which cath labs and operators should be undertaking these difficult and costly procedures?
Working and speaking together, through professional associations, makes the voices of cardiovascular experts more likely to be heard.
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.
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.
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.
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.  
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.
Electronic health records (EHRs) have transformed the way clinical care is recorded and reimbursed, and now their promise for reaching across large populations is making them a key resource for cardiovascular research.  
 Effective patient education leads to improved informed consent, decreased preoperative anxiety and better postoperative pain management. Whether allocating office and hospital resources for patient education results in more cost-effective medicine is a more complicated issue.  
Don’t underestimate the importance of scheduling in running a successful cardiovascular practice. 
Mar 22, 2017 | Health IT
Policymakers from the FDA and CMS have been invited to participate in ACC.17, says Jeffrey T. Kuvin, MD, ACC.17 chair and chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Heart & Vascular Center of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. “This year, we’ll be able to draw on local  expertise, which also happens to be our nation’s expertise—people who can help us understand important, timely issues in cardiovascular medicine and in the world of medicine,” he says.
Health IT
Mar 22, 2017 | Health IT
 Bundling is premised on viewing healthcare as a continuum, but most of today’s healthcare systems use electronic medical records (EMRs) developed for episodic fee-for-service billing. While many in the cardiovascular community are at the beginning of this experiment, some health systems participated in the earlier Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Initiative and have insights to share.    
Health IT
Mar 22, 2017 | Health IT
As a growing body of evidence links palliative care to improved quality of life and better healthcare utilization for patients with heart failure, some in the medical community are advocating a shift from the traditionalist, acute care model to one more in tune with the psychological and physical needs of people with advanced cardiovascular disease.
Health IT
Mar 22, 2017 | Health IT
Every day, cardiologists make hundreds, if not thousands, of mouse clicks, encounter countless notifications and manage a steady stream of alerts that pop up on their computer and device screens. Some say these demands of the electronic health record (EHR) are distracting clinicians from patient care and contributing to physician burnout. Yet there are workarounds that can help cardiologists handle the digital data deluge.
Health IT
Mar 22, 2017 | Health IT
Treating today’s cancer patient no longer means simply targeting the cancer. Given the known cardiotoxicities of some established chemotherapies and the possibility that newer approaches may damage the heart, oncologists, cardiologists and imaging specialists now work together to detect and minimize the risk of treatment-induced heart failure.
Health IT
Mar 22, 2017 | Health IT
About one year ago, FIRE AND ICE trial investigators reported that cryoballoon ablation (cryo) performed as well as radiofrequency ablation (RF) as a treatment for patients with drug-refractory paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. But is “as good as” good enough to change practice? The answer may be emerging just now.
Health IT