Author + information
- C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, President, American College of Cardiology∗ (, )
- Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC, Vice President, American College of Cardiology and
- Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, Strategic Plan Liaison to the ACC Board of Trustees
- ↵∗Address for correspondence:
Dr. C. Michael Valentine, American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037.
Five years ago, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) embarked on a 5-year strategic plan to guide the College and its members through 2018. The plan centered around the concept of the then-“Triple Aim” of better care, improved outcomes, and lower costs, as well as 4 strategic themes of purposeful education, member value and engagement, transformation of care, and population health (1).
Under the leadership of the College’s Board of Trustees, working with major operating committees like the Finance Committee, Membership Committee, Health Affairs Committee and Science and Quality Committee, as well as our Member Section leadership, National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) and Accreditation management boards, and appointed task forces and work groups, the College has worked hard to enhance access to education and knowledge, enable population health management, develop a health systems strategy, ensure the relevance of ACC membership, and more.
Among our greatest accomplishments:
• Increasing the opportunity for members to serve on national committees by reducing the number of Trustees serving on committees—allowing Trustees to focus on strategy and committees to focus on their special work.
• Exponentially growing the number of digital tools, including mobile apps, available to members for use at the point of care to help with implementation of guideline recommendations, shared-decision making, and patient education.
• Developing leadership and mentoring programs aimed at cultivating the next generation of cardiovascular professionals.
• Transforming our governance structure and process to be more nimble and strategic.
• Expanding beyond clinical guidelines by publishing the first ACC expert consensus pathway documents.
• Increasing our global presence through International Chapters (now totaling more than 40), an award-winning global prevention program, and ACC Regional Conferences in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
• Convening a series of Heart House Roundtables to address topics of broad interest, such as anticoagulation management and care of heart failure patients.
• Enhancing opportunities for members to engage with the College and like-minded professionals through a growing number of Member Sections focused on areas like women in cardiology, imaging, cardio-oncology, fellows in training, cardiovascular team, health care innovation, and more.
• Enhancing member knowledge in nonclinical competencies through an enhanced Cardiovascular Summit and the creation of educational tools and resources to aid members in transition from volume to value.
• Leveraging data and information to improve knowledge and clinical practice.
• Adding Accreditation Services to our already robust quality improvement portfolio that includes our NCDR registries (including 4 new registries) and national quality campaigns aimed a closing gaps in evidence-based care.
• Actively advocating on behalf of members to improve processes and requirements related to areas like Maintenance of Certification and prior authorization that pose significant administrative burden to providers and can affect patient access to care.
These accomplishments are only a small snapshot of the hard work and diligent efforts by ACC members and staff to ensure member value and position the College for success in achieving our mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. As we prepare to close the chapter on our current Strategic Plan and look to implement our next plan to guide us through 2023, many of these “old” themes and priorities will meld with the new.
For example, we must now work to implement our health systems strategy that we have been building over the last few years. How we move forward could shape how we serve our members—particularly those already employed by hospitals and health systems—in countless different ways both now and into the future. Additionally, while we have spent the last 5 years focused on giving members largely data-driven tools to help them survive and thrive in the new value-based versus fee-for-service health care environment, the advent of the Quadruple Aim and its focus on professional well-being means we need to expand our focus to ensure that members have the tools to manage effective teams and improve their overarching systems. The ACC is fully committed to helping its members find, implement, and share innovative solutions to improve their well-being so that they can focus on taking care of patients in the most appropriate and cost-effective ways possible.
The ACC’s Board of Trustees has approved the new Strategic Plan, which will focus on the following 4 goals:
1. Increase relevance as the cardiovascular professional home
2. Generate and deliver actionable knowledge
3. Advance quality, equity, and value of cardiovascular care
4. Ensure organizational growth and sustainability
To be an effective cardiovascular professional home, the ACC must provide indispensable value to all members of the care team, providing both clinical and nonclinical solutions at all career stages. Increasing member diversity and inclusion is paramount to achieving this strategy, as is finding ways to promote clinician well-being, whether through support for team-based care, developing new products for successful electronic health record integration, or cultivating partnerships that can facilitate or improve well-being. Additionally, finding ways to engage with health systems and service lines through the provision of credible and reliable data and best practices will also support the team.
ACC members are overloaded with information today, and we need to innovate how we deliver knowledge to support optimal patient care and learning. The second strategic goal positions ACC as the trusted source of consumable knowledge that can be integrated with the daily activities of the cardiovascular team and fully accessible when needed. The College is committed to understanding how, when, and where users currently access—and want to access—education and knowledge, with the aim of identifying market opportunities, partnerships, and pilots to make this happen. In addition, the College will continue to not only transform how ACC knowledge is created, but also find ways to improve availability and leverage partner platforms and channels to expand dissemination.
The College has a nearly 70-year history of finding ways to advance quality, equity, and value of cardiovascular care. Continuing to lead in defining standards and providing tools in this area is vital to the College’s success. To this end, the ACC’s new Strategic Plan calls for working to develop partnerships to support solutions that enable delivery of the highest-quality cardiovascular care to all. Enhancing the scope and use of ACC data, particularly data from the NCDR registries, is another strategy to help with efforts to examine real-world impacts related to cost, value, and equity. Supporting members in their efforts to assess and improve value of care, as well as integrating patient voice in decision-making protocols and treatment recommendations, are also important plan strategies.
Ensuring organizational growth and sustainability is fundamental to successfully meeting the needs of members and fulfilling the overarching goals of the Strategic Plan. A focus on enhanced organizational efficiency, as well as innovative projects that drive the mission of the ACC, are prioritized under the new plan. Part of organizational sustainability is making sure we have a pipeline of diverse and effective leaders to ensure future success for the ACC. Thus, expanding and delivering leadership development offerings is vital.
With cardiovascular disease still holding as the number 1 cause of mortality worldwide, an aging population, increasing complexity of patients, a changing cardiovascular workforce, and a turbulent health care environment, being a cardiovascular professional today can be challenging. The ACC was founded nearly 7 decades ago during a time of great change, with the primary objective of offering cardiovascular professionals a place to learn, grow, and share. While much has changed in the world—and the cardiovascular profession itself—since then, this underlying objective remains the same. We are confident that our next Strategic Plan will place us on a path toward our vision of a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. We look forward to you joining us on this journey.
- 2018 American College of Cardiology Foundation
- ↵American College of Cardiology. The ACC’s Strategic Plan. Available at: https://www.acc.org/about-acc/our-strategic-direction. Accessed July 29, 2018.