Author + information
- John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, ACC President∗ (, )
- Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC, ACC President-Elect, Chair, Strategic Planning Taskforce and
- Richard Chazal, MD, FACC, Former ACC Treasurer, Vice Chair, Strategic Planning Taskforce
- ↵∗Address correspondence to:
John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
“You have to be fast on your feet and adaptive or else a strategy is useless”
–Charles de Gaulle (1)
As the American College of Cardiology (ACC) prepares to celebrate its 65th anniversary, opportunities abound for the College to continue its leadership in areas of quality improvement, education, information management, patient-centered care, and practice excellence.
However, the current environment of rapid changes in science and care delivery mandates a dynamic approach to strategic planning. To continue providing highest quality patient care and remaining relevant to a growing cadre of cardiovascular professionals around the globe, there is a clear need to develop a new strategic plan that leverages the College's strengths, while allowing the flexibility to adapt to future changes.
In this context, the College's Board of Trustees (BOT) is undertaking a careful review and revision of the current strategic plan. A special task force, working in conjunction with outside experts experienced in both business and medical spheres, has been charged with gathering necessary information and identifying key mission areas to present the BOT with the best path forward over the College's near-term future, with the goal of releasing a final plan at year end.
Last comprehensively re-written in 1999, the ACC's current strategic plan has been updated on an annual basis with thoughtful input from the BOT, the Board of Governors, and an extensive environmental scan (2). Surprisingly, many issues have continued to resonate over time. Themes articulated by Michael Wolk, MD, MACC, in a 2004 President's Page (3), seem eerily familiar: information overload, practical use of guidelines at the point of care, global cardiovascular health and ACC international outreach, liability concerns, practice reforms, and workforce shortages.
The current timing is opportune, given the challenges (and opportunities) presented by the accelerating changes in health care both nationally and globally. In the United States, increasing health care costs and political changes over the last decade render a much different setting today than that of the 1990s. Passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 (4), heralded a sometimes controversial but very real government reaction to the “health care crisis.” The migration of independent cardiovascular practices to integrated/employed models (5) is a direct reaction to these changes.
Increased oversight and regulations involving relationships with industry have significantly changed over the years, impacting the way educational programs, research, and fellowship career development awards can be funded. Movement away from the traditional fee-for-service payment model toward alternative models, such as pay for performance, bundling, value-based purchasing, accountable care, etc., is forcing the medical community to rethink the ways it provides care and does business.
On the scientific front, rapid developments in new health care technologies are providing patients with promising new advances. At the same time, the pace of these changes is often overwhelming for care providers and patients to assimilate. Ever-increasing use of digital technologies for patients and providers is leading to major shifts in how we communicate, learn, and receive information.
Internally, the College has also undergone a fair share of changes, including a move from its original Heart House headquarters in Bethesda to Washington, DC, in 2006. In addition, the number of ACC staff has more than doubled over the last decade. The College has also opened its doors to support all members of the cardiac care team. To date, cardiovascular care team members, including nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, cardiovascular technologists, and practice administrators, exceed 4,000. In addition, the College has broadened its reach globally, with international professionals now making up the fastest growing segment of the membership. The establishment of ACC International Chapters will likely continue to foster this growth – to the benefit of us all.
The College has also grown in terms of its clinical resources and tools. Development of Appropriate Use Criteria (6,7) was (and continues to be) an unprecedented move by a professional society to improve the value of care. In addition, the exponential growth of registry data through the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) is not only providing physicians and care team members with crucial information, but is also evolving as a rich source of clinical data for research, post-marketing surveillance and quality improvement. Linking educational programming to patient outcome data is a crucial component of the College's future plans for enhancing members' ability to achieve Maintenance of Certification credits and provide better care.
These are but a few of the features of our recent evolution. The new strategic plan will help ensure we are poised not only to leverage, but also to build on these changes in a positive fashion. For example, educational models must continue to improve and change to provide all of us with the information needed to access the best in science. The need for “just in time” information at the bedside remains a goal, as does the full integration of guidelines imbedded in the medical record. Changes in certification (and, especially, re-certification) are an acknowledged issue for members (8). The College would also be remiss if we did not address the importance of involving patients in care decisions.
It is our belief that there is no better time to practice cardiovascular medicine. While challenges abound, supporting practice excellence with tools to enhance quality and value distinguishes the ACC commitment to its members. Ongoing breakthroughs in science promise the opportunity to provide improved care, while advancing technology provides platforms for rapid dissemination of information. It is our charge to seize this opportunity to help the College evolve in the best fashion possible to realize its full potential for its members, the patients they serve, and the global cardiovascular community. Our heritage as an unparalleled educational institution, our extensive work in quality improvement, and our advocacy for quality patient care provide the background for success – and we will succeed!
- American College of Cardiology Foundation
- ↵de Gaulle C. BrainyQuote. Available at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/charlesdeg119209.html. Accessed May 26, 2013.
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- ↵The Affordable Care Act. March 23, 2010. Available at: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/. Accessed May 25, 2013.
- Wolk M.J.,
- McEntee C.,
- Mills P.
- Patel M.R.,
- Spertus J.A.,
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- American College of Cardiology. New American College of Cardiology Practice Census Shows Continued Trend Towards Hospital Integration. Available at: http://www.cardiosource.org/News-Media/Media-Center/News-Releases/2012/09/Leg-Conf.aspx. Accessed March 25, 2013.
- ↵American Board of Internal Medicine. Maintenance & Recertification Guide. Available at: http://www.abim.org/moc/. Accessed March 25, 2013.