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- John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, President, American College of Cardiology∗ ()
- ↵∗Address correspondence to:
John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
A year ago the American College of Cardiology (ACC) embarked on an effort to develop a digital strategy that would allow the College to not only meet the digital needs of its members and patients now, but also be poised to take advantage of the inevitable changes in technologies expected in the future. I facilitated the development of this digital strategy as the cornerstone of my presidential year, aligned with my theme of “Innovation in Technology and Education.” This comprehensive “digital” blueprint for the future was developed in partnership with member volunteers, patients, and staff and focused on our shared mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health.
As I noted in one of my earliest President's Pages, “There are tremendous opportunities for the College to reach cardiovascular professionals and patients around the world faster and more effectively than we could have ever dreamed” (1). Over the past year, I have made it my presidential mission to ensure that the College takes advantage of these opportunities and builds on the ACC's legacy as a global knowledge organization that continues to innovate and engage with its members in a mutually beneficial way.
College leaders, staff, and members have made unbelievable strides toward enriching the member experience and achieving the primary objectives of the digital strategy: 1) improving how we communicate; 2) encouraging patient education; and 3) enhancing the ability to obtain continuing education at the point of care.
On the communications front, our biggest project, which was to transform CardioSource.org into a user-friendly online home for cardiovascular professionals around the world, is nearly complete. The team of staff and members charged with this Herculean task spent the past year listening to members discuss what they want in an ACC website and then translating these needs into a functioning system. We are now in the home stretch, with the actual building and design of the web site under way. Be ready to be amazed later this year!
The College also continues to enhance its mobile offerings to help ACC members better interact with each other, as well as with their patients. More than 5,000 members have downloaded the CardioSmart Heart Explorer mobile application in the last year, and the Anticoag Evaluator and the brand new ASCVD Risk Estimator application are also getting great reviews from members. The College also continues to focus on ways to enhance relationships and communications with key member groups, including Fellows in Training, International fellows, cardiovascular team members, and hospitals. For example, the ACC most recently launched its new Quality Improvement for Institutions program, which combines under 1 umbrella the power of the National Cardiovascular Data Registry with hospital-focused quality improvement programs and tools, such as Hospital to Home, the Door-to-Balloon Alliance, and Surviving MI.
I would be remiss if I left out social media from the communications discussion. The ACC's social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have allowed us to more quickly disseminate breaking news, share case studies, and network with colleagues. In the past year, the ACC's Facebook page has grown from 13,500 fans last March to more than 30,000 today, and its @ACCinTouch and @Cardiology Twitter feeds have grown from 15,000 followers to nearly 25,000. LinkedIn has also seen growth as a place for specialized ACC community discussions around topics like women in cardiology, the cardiovascular care team, and NCDR research.
Social media has also been an important way to help encourage patient education. Over the past year, social media platforms have been integral to helping us reach the broader public with not only basic heart healthy tips and educational resources, but also specific information related to papers like the ACC and the American Heart Association's new prevention guidelines, the Surgeon General's 50th Anniversary Report on Smoking, and more. It has also proven to be a great way to work with partners like the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Million Hearts, with patient-friendly messages about aspirin use, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and help with quitting smoking.
Of course, CardioSmart also continues to be our cornerstone for patient education. Since the College revamped CardioSmart.org last March, more than 1 million people have visited the website for its interactive blood pressure and activity trackers and more than 30 condition centers. Local CardioSmart events like NASCAR track walks, Spirit of the Heart, and Living with Afib have also proven to be great ways to get heart-healthy messaging on the ground and in front of patients and healthcare providers alike.
In terms of continuing medical education, the College's Lifelong Learning Portfolio (LLP) is living up to expectations. The unique online learning environment includes advanced functionality for tracking individual education activities; flexible formats to fit different learning styles; and targeted programming for Fellows in Training, cardiac care team members, and cardiovascular specialty areas. As the LLP continues to grow, intelligent integration with an individual member's learning profile and mobile offerings pushed to the point of care will vastly increase the ease of obtaining continuing medical education and, even more importantly given new American Board of Internal Medicine requirements, Maintenance of Certification credit. Further, with increasing health policy discussions focused on using data to tie together performance measurement, physician payment, and educational requirements, the LLP is positioned to play a key role as a source of educational and quality improvement programming for cardiovascular professionals.
All of the efforts mentioned above, as well as countless others, form a solid foundation for the next big phase for the College—implementing the new, 5-year strategic plan that I helped to facilitate. The new plan is focused on increasing membership value and engagement, helping to transform cardiovascular care, and meeting the “Triple Aim” of better care, better outcomes, and lower costs. The plan also recognizes the ACC's role in providing members with purposeful education tools and ensuring that members are empowered to serve as effective advocates for sound health policies that allow patient access to the most appropriate, high-quality care. Supporting members in their expanded accountability to improve population health, as well as recognizing the importance of data, information, and the development of knowledge in both education and care transformation, are also at the heart of the strategic plan. We will strive to enhance global cardiovascular health through sustained collaboration and the exchange of knowledge and resources for cardiovascular care worldwide.
Peter Drucker said that “the best way to predict the future is to create it” (2). I am excited to have had a hand in preparing the College for the next great chapter of its history—one that will not be etched in stone, or written on paper, but rather viewed on a mobile device of choice. I am honored to have had a hand, working with each and every one of you, in preparing for the future. It belongs to all of us!
- American College of Cardiology Foundation
- Harold J.,
- May D.
- ↵Peter Drucker. BrainyQuote.com. Available at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/peterdruck131600.html. Accessed January 23, 2014.