A message from Dr. Ed Fry

Welcome to The Cardiology Connection. As one of Ascension’s clinical service lines, Cardiovascular Services has made a lot of progress since our Rapid Design Session earlier in the year when we began a transformative initiative to improve cardiac care delivery across the continuum for our patients. Our unified goal was to identify opportunities to share comparative data and standardize evidence-based best practices, eliminating unwarranted clinical variations so that we could provide the highest-quality care for our patients.

Our multidisciplinary group of Ascension cardiac care providers from across the continuum included specialists from various cardiac clinical specialties, ministry representatives, Ascension’s Performance Excellence and Care Excellence teams, and other subject matter experts. The result was the successful formation and launch of a multidisciplinary Cardiac Care Model team.

Our Cardiac Care Model team is charged with developing an overall cardiac care model that supports exceptional patient outcomes for cardiac patients throughout the continuum, which can be replicated throughout Ascension nationally, eliminating unwarranted clinical or nonclinical variations.

As a national healthcare system and leader in cardiovascular care, standardizing evidence-based best practices helps us achieve the highest quality and safe care for our patients at the lowest cost. At the same time, this initiative provides a basis for an enhanced provider experience.

At the outset, we are focused on assessing the continuum of cardiac care throughout Ascension to see what practices are common to high-performing ministries, with special focus on major cardiac procedures and patient outcomes for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

The Navion Pilot, which you will learn more about in this newsletter, provided aggregated data for surgical metrics collected from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) CABG Registry and, PCI metrics, from the American College of Cardiology (ACC), National Cardiovascular Data Registry for Cath and PCI (ACC-NCDR Cath/PCI) from 11 Ascension ministries and compared them to each other and the System to national benchmarks.

For the multidisciplinary group at the Rapid Design forum, we could see that shared data of this kind helps us stay on the leading edge of best clinical protocols. Furthermore, it helps us identify where and why variations happen so we ultimately can eliminate unwarranted variations across the continuum of cardiac care, from patient diagnosis and care assessment through treatment and coordination of postsurgical care and rehabilitation.

Coincidentally, these same procedures have been identified as part of the proposed Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Cardiac Care Episode Payment Model (EPM) pilot, in which so many of Ascension’s cardiac care ministries may be participating in the near future.

Regardless of the timing of this CMS pilot, our Cardiac Care Model team is committed to meeting its goals on all levels and sharing the results throughout our clinical service line.

Doing so will help us achieve our One Ascension goal of providing high-quality, low-cost, person-centered cardiac care throughout the continuum, resulting in the best possible outcomes for patients and the best overall experiences for providers and those we serve.

Also in this newsletter, you can read about one ministry’s efforts to expand the cardiac care delivery services across the continuum, as its multidisciplinary teams engage with partner organizations in their community that have the same commitment to data collection and analysis. This collaboration has served as a basis for offering the best quality of care options.

Making Ascension’s cardiac care delivery more efficient by standardizing processes and procedures helps us live up to our commitment to provide the best outcomes for our patients. It gives our clinical service line the framework for future growth by benchmarking our continuous improvement efforts. These are critical components for our continued national leadership in care for our heart patients.

Edward T.A. Fry, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Chair, Cardiology Division and Cardiovascular Service Line
St. Vincent, Ascension Indiana
Chair, National Cardiovascular Service Line Excellence Council
Ascension