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- Shalom Jacobovitz, Chief Executive Officer, American College of Cardiology∗
- ↵∗Address correspondence to:
Shalom Jacobovitz, American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037.
High-functioning, high-performance teams are cohesive. They are united. They get things done. To accomplish the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC’s) mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health, we must use the concept of high-functioning teams as we partner with like-minded, mission-focused organizations.
At the ACC’s “Heart House” headquarters in Washington, DC, I have been working internally with staff to ensure that the ACC is functioning as an empowered organization with highly functioning teams. We have developed an internal competency model to ensure that all staff members and leaders are striving for the same ideals. We are also working to ensure that our objectives, from strategic ones to individual ones, are aligned and working toward the same goals. These partnerships and collaborations allow the ACC to share knowledge and learn from other groups in a way that, with each collaboration, we inch closer to our goals.
This concept of high-performing teams also applies to our external partnerships and collaborations. At the ACC, we are part of a number of partnerships that are making a real-world difference by positively affecting cardiovascular care and improving the health of populations. These partnerships are not merely agreements on paper; they result in tangible improvements as we jointly work toward common achievable goals.
For the last 30 years, the ACC has partnered with the American Heart Association to develop clinical practice guidelines on 23 clinical topics across the spectrum of cardiovascular diseases and procedures. These guidelines are based on a shared commitment of translating the best available scientific evidence into clinical practice guidelines and performance measures that can be used by healthcare professionals to improve patient outcomes and quality cardiovascular care. This year alone, we published or are scheduled to publish 5 guidelines.
There are few partnerships as strong as the ones involving the ACC’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry—the suite of data registries helping hospitals and private practices measure and improve the quality of cardiovascular care they provide. The success of the registries in providing trusted and usable clinical data for research, benchmarking, and quality improvement is due in major part to our partnerships with other medical specialty societies. To date, the ACC is working with the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (CathPCI Registry, IMPACT Registry, and the PVI Registry); the Heart Rhythm Society (ICD Registry); the American Academy of Pediatrics (IMPACT Registry; the Society of Thoracic Surgeons/ACC TVT Registry); the American Heart Association, with partnering support from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care; and The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACTION Registry–GWTG Registry).
The College’s newest registry, the Diabetes Collaborative Registry, is taking our registry partnerships to an even higher level. Designed through an interdisciplinary collaboration led by the ACC and AstraZeneca in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, the American College of Physicians, and the Joslin Diabetes Center, this is the first global, cross-specialty, clinical diabetes registry designed to track and improve the quality of diabetes and cardiometabolic medicine across the primary and specialty care continuum. This is truly a landmark endeavor, with the ultimate goal being to provide a unique, longitudinal view of the presentation, progression, management, and outcomes of patients with diabetes as they receive care and treatment.
Outside of registries, the ACC is involved in several partnerships focused on closing identified gaps and/or reducing disparities in care. For example, the ACC is part of the Cardiometabolic Health Alliance, which also includes the Association of Black Cardiologists, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the National Minority Quality Forum. The Alliance is an interdisciplinary collaboration to improve cardiometabolic risk factor control in diverse and high-risk populations and to provide more effective and coordinated care for patients with established cardiometabolic disease.
Early this past summer, the Alliance held a CardioMetabolic Think Tank, which was established to address cardiometabolic disease and its interdependencies and to identify a new care model that takes an integrated approach to treating risk factors across diverse populations. Participants discussed the need for an integrated, coordinated, and interdisciplinary approach to patient care, including risk stratification and staging, as well as targeted prevention at key populations. Additional recommendations and results from the Think Tank discussions will be released in the future as an outcomes paper from the partnering groups as a single, unified alliance.
Other national partnerships focus on prevention and making wise choices during treatment. A prime example is the ACC’s involvement in the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation's Choosing Wisely Campaign. In 2012, the ACC joined 8 other medical specialty societies in releasing specialty-specific lists of things that physicians and patients should question. The College also partners with Million Hearts, engaging the College’s outpatient PINNACLE Registry to monitor progress toward Million Hearts goals and provide feedback for performance improvement, as well as collaborating through the ACC’s CardioSmart program to reach patients living with or at risk of heart disease with the “ABCS”—aspirin as appropriate, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation.
Our partnerships extend globally as well. Whether it is providing support for global efforts to address noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) or partnering with local health systems and/or governments on campaigns addressing major cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension, obesity, and smoking, the College continues to work alongside its International Chapters and with other international medical societies to improve population health.
NCDs account for nearly two-thirds of global deaths, with cardiovascular disease making up the highest proportion. Over the last several years, the ACC has actively advised the United Nations on its efforts to combat the NCD epidemic and reach the global target of a 25% reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025. As a proud member of the NCD Alliance, the ACC is working to support this global target, as well as corresponding NCD targets focused on high blood pressure, smoking cessation, diabetes, obesity, and reliable access to medicines. These goals are embedded in the World Health Organization’s global action plan against NCDs.
In a recent President’s Page, ACC President Patrick O’Gara, MD, FACC, also highlighted the China Chapter as an example of a partnership that is successfully leading the way in patient education (1). In China, smoking and hypertension are alarmingly prevalent, and awareness and control of these 2 risk factors are limited. In response to these trends, the China Chapter has hosted patient education events during the Great Wall Congress of Cardiology meeting, and has also translated and distributed several of the ACC’s CardioSmart fact sheets on various cardiovascular disease risk factors. This fall, the ACC and the Chinese Society of Cardiology are launching a major new initiative to combat hypertension in China with the release of a Mandarin language website, distribution of essential educational materials for nurses and patients, and a public health event where blood pressure screening will be conducted to raise awareness around hypertension management.
We also serve as collaborators with our ACC chapters, councils, and sections as they tackle local and specialty issues. On the grassroots advocacy front, the College has been working closely with the Maryland Chapter on imaging legislation to great success. The Maryland Chapter worked extensively for 2 years to develop an oversight system for all state hospitals performing percutaneous coronary intervention. This resulted in a momentous win for the Chapter, as the Maryland Legislature passed a bill in May 2012 requiring a state agency to develop requirements for peer or independent review, consistent with guidelines, of difficult or complicated cases and for randomly selected cases for Maryland hospitals. Additionally, our advocacy staff works closely with chapters on making the voice of cardiovascular professionals and patients known on the hot topic issues of smoking legislation and pulse oximetry screening.
Additionally, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation this year bestowed a $15.8 million grant upon the SMARTCare pilot project designed by the ACC’s Wisconsin and Florida Chapters. The goal of the project is to reduce healthcare costs by providing tools to help doctors and patients communicate about options for their care while helping physicians apply the latest guidelines to the decision-making process. The College is working with the Chapters to help manage the grant and ensure the project’s success.
These are just a fraction of the many examples of partnerships that the College has underway, both internally and externally. Our work together is done cohesively. We are united in purpose. We strive with every partnership and interaction to uphold the characteristics and ideals of performance as high-functioning teams to ensure that our final outcome is a better environment for cardiovascular patients. Moving forward, we will be even more focused on establishing partnerships with tangible goals and benefits that best meet the goals outlined by our strategic plan. Working with our partners, we will continue to lead the way in ensuring members have the best science, education, and tools at their disposal to provide patients around the world with the best care.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation