Out of Rhythm: The FDA commissioner says cardiology needs to modernize its approach. Here’s how.

By August 31, 2016No Comments

FDA commissioner says cardiology can do better


Data moves the modern world. It’s built on vast amounts of information and is seen in just about all aspects of life.

With the rise of smartphones, smart cars, smart homes, wearable technology and beyond, we are now entering a new era in medicine characterized by similar accelerations in biological and information sciences. But how do we sort out and utilize the useful parts from the detracting ones? Actionable intelligence is key.


A Brave New World for Cardiology

Dr. Robert M. Califf, the commissioner of Food and Drug Administration, says cardiologists should take advantage of new tools now available for collecting high-quality data. In a statement written online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Califf says the cardiovascular community can do better when it comes to guidelines supported by high-quality evidence.

“Dramatic improvements in the rate, quantity, and quality of evidence generation are within reach. Almost all Americans now have electronic health records, and social media combined with wearable devices are opening new frontiers in patient- and population-level data,” said Dr. Califf.

Cardiology is unique in that it is heavily evidence-based. Cardiovascular specialists enjoy an abundance of evidence-based guidelines and recommendations from a variety of distinguished organizations like the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association—but what about the clinics themselves? What happens when a cardiologist has more work but less time to do it in?


One Size Does Not Fit All

Most Electronic Health Record systems today are largely generic with no intuitiveness in user-interface design while diagnostic reporting is largely chart based and offers no real clinical value in providing real-time contextual intelligence to the physician by integrating with clinical data.

Contemporary EHR solutions cater to general practitioners with some modifications made for specialists. Much of the pain and frustration rampant for EHR users can be traced to the inability to incorporate a specific specialist workflow or “business rule.”

Most EHRs consider cardiology just like any other sub-specialty thereby diagnostic tests performed are most often “scanned into” the EHR, losing important evidence-based data that can be analyzed to make clinical recommendation. This results in the physician having to wade through a seemingly endless number of screens to make clinical decisions, moments that can sometimes be critical for a patient.

Cardiology is one of the most advanced medical specialties, utilizing literally thousands of discrete data elements during an outpatient visit to make clinical decisions. This discrete data becomes the building blocks during a patient’s evaluation and management. Figuring out ways to streamline a physician’s work and reducing human error is critical as a “tsunami” of information swells.


Digging through a Data Dump

Cardiology is a specialty so why wouldn’t its software follow suit? For cardiovascular specialists, software systems absolutely need to be holistic and intuitive, providing EHR, Cardiovascular Reporting, and Analytics that improve workflow efficiency and ensure compliance while delivering actionable information to improve quality and revenue cycle.

As our national healthcare system continues to evolve and move from a fee-for-service environment to managing populations, it is imperative we put the right information, at the right times, in the hands of our physicians and have the analytics available to really move the quality needle. To do that, you first have to consider if your current EHR is working for you or you for it.

For more information on how our cardiovascular suite can streamline your practice’s workflow click here.
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