Formed in 1949, The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has a long history of providing guidance to cardiologists to support heart health. With cardiovascular disease being the #1 cause of mortality worldwide,1 it is ever critical that the college’s guidance be delivered to doctors where it can have the greatest impact – at the point-of-care.
To achieve this, the ACC is partnering with Health IT organizations who can deliver guidance through access to point-of-care platforms such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Veradigm sat down with Brendan Mullen, Executive Vice President of the American College of Cardiology to discuss how health information technology is helping to advance cardiac care at the ACC.
Veradigm: We’ve heard a lot about the concept of “clinical inertia”. Can you explain what that is and why it is important?
Mullen: One of the things that’s wonderful and transformative about cardiovascular medicine right now is just the incredible proliferation of science and evidence that we’re developing. But the challenge we face is getting the innovations and new therapies that are developed to the bedside, to the patients. Traditionally, it’s taken years for a new medication that’s been approved by the FDA and supported by evidence to be widely adopted in the community. That delay in adoption is what we are calling “clinical inertia.”
Veradigm: How does Health IT help with this challenge?
Mullen: We believe that by engaging in the right partnerships and using the right technologies that we are going to be able to provide guidance on new therapies to physicians much faster. This will enable providers to make better decisions regarding treatment. One of the ways we’re doing this is through the Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology that healthcare practitioners use with every patient every day.
Veradigm: Why use partnerships? Why not develop the technology in-house?
Mullen: We hold deeply that in today’s world to expect that any organization can do it all themselves is a big mistake. You need to be engaged with other members of the healthcare ecosystem to get the right care to patients. One of the things the college has done very well historically is to establish the definitions of what needs to be done to support heart health. We call that guidelines. What we don’t often have is the ability to deliver that to the point-of-care. Through working with a Health IT partner like Veradigm, we are able to use the best technologies to deliver our guidelines in a way that’s useful, effective, efficient for doctors.
Veradigm: How has healthcare evolved and what new challenges does that present to your work that Health IT helps to solve?
Mullen: The challenge in cardiovascular medicine, like all of American healthcare right now, is essentially a scale challenge. We’re moving from what was once a focus on private practices and local hospitals to thinking about the efficiency and the effectiveness of the whole system. That requires a type of reach as well as informatics and analytics capabilities that we’ve never really had before. Our work with Veradigm as a Health IT company enables us to see how care is being delivered in the country as a whole. At that point we can see where the most profound gaps are in any clinical area and direct our quality improvement programs, our education programs, and all our interventions to the physicians and ultimately to the patients that are going to benefit most from them.
Veradigm: You had many choices of Health IT companies to work with. Why did you choose Veradigm?
Mullen: Over the years we’ve learned that for our partnerships to be successful, we need to have really good cultural alignment with the other organization. When we first started talking with Veradigm, we had an experience that really captured that sense of alignment.
We were about to have one of our critical negotiations. The weather was bad, and schools were cancelled. So, my kids were with me at the office. I was a little conscious of this as I brought the CEO of Veradigm up our elevators to our board room. As soon as he came through the doors and saw my kids, he walked right past me, sat down on the couch, and started talking to my kids. And that was when I knew that these were people that I could trust, that I could engage with. I had great confidence because we shared the same values about our families, and we shared the same values about contributing to society.
Watch our 60 second video “Veradigm and the ACC - Delivering cardiovascular information to the point-of-care” to hear more about how the ACC and Veradigm are working together to help cardiovascular teams get the information they need, when they need it.