Streamlined Quality Improvement a Focus of ACC Accreditation Services’ 20th Annual Congress

Nearly 200 nurses, cardiovascular care coordinators, data abstractors and cardiologists convened in Las Vegas this week as part of ACC Accreditation Services 20th annual Congress to learn about the tools needed to provide the best patient outcomes across the continuum of care. Attendees also had opportunities to network with colleagues from across the country about best practices on creating and maintaining a multi-disciplinary team focused on data-driven, quality improvement efforts within their hospitals and out in the community.

David Winchester, MD, FACC, this year's ACC Accreditation Services' Congress chair, opened the conference by providing a brief overview of the hottest topics and latest accreditation offerings, particularly Chest Pain Center Version 6. Additionally, the late Joseph Lee Garvey, Jr., MD, FACC was recognized as the 2017 Raymond D. Bahr Award of Excellence winner. Among his many accomplishments, Garvey was co-founder of the North Carolina Regional Approach to Cardiovascular Emergencies (RACE) program, a founding member of the Society of Cardiovascular Patience Care (SCPC) Board of Directors and a crucial player in transitioning the SCPC into the ACC family as ACC Accreditation Services.

Phillip Levy, MD, FACC, chair of ACC's Accreditation Management Board, also kicked off the meeting by providing attendees with a quick history lesson, noting ACC Accreditation Services' expansion from a primarily Chest Pain Center focus to today's variety of accreditation options, ranging from Atrial Fibrillation to Cardiac Cath Lab to Heart Failure. He also touched on future projects, particularly how ACC Accreditation Services will continue to uncover ways to ease the data burden. "Working with the NCDR registries is going to be an important point for us. Right now, we rely on hospitals to pull data for accreditation separately. Moving forward, we're going to be one big happy ACC family, focused on quality improvement and transforming patient care," he noted.

New this year, NCDR leaders provided insights on how metrics in the ACTION Registry and the CathPCI Registry will support Chest Pain Center Accreditation and Cardiac Cath Lab Accreditation, respectively. Based on feedback from hospitals and other stakeholders, it was announced that the next version of ACTION Registry will overlap with the data submission populations in Chest Pain Center Version 6 Accreditation. Attendees were excited by the news and hopeful that this would streamline processes and ease workloads. "I love the idea of being able to compare ourselves to other facilities," said Laura McGuire, RN, cardiovascular patient care program manager at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield, CA. "This will also make it easier to collaborate across the cardiovascular care team, especially since the ACTION Registry is so well-known and understood by physicians."

Breakout sessions on Wednesday focused on hot topics in acute coronary syndrome (ACS), such as cardiovascular screening for teenage athletes, considerations when caring for female cardiovascular patients, applying hypothermia guidelines recommendations to clinical practice and more; the ABCs of the accreditation process, including what to expect from a site visit, how to better engage and collaborate with EMS, and how to present Accreditation Conformance Database data; and the management of observation services, including a look at the c-suite billing and coding perspective, ACS risk stratification methodology and strategies, and the benefits of using the HEART Pathway app.

Thursday's sessions looked at the evolution of the Atrial Fibrillation Clinic; troponin strategies; business aspects of medicine, with special sessions on MACRA, the future of healthcare, millennials’ role in the workplace and physician engagement; and how Emergency Medical Services can assist in expanding Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC) education in the community. Boasting more than 800,000 EHAC pledges, Jamie Moore, RN, acute myocardial infarction coordinator at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Tyler in Tyler, TX, was recognized as the EHAC Person of the Year. Sara Hansen, executive director of the heart and vascular service line at University Health System in San Antonio, TX, and Casey Bridge, regional cardiac service coordinator at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health in New Braunfels, TX, were named honorees. To close out the conference, 2017 Process Improvement Pioneer Award winners, Jan Hartness, RN, and Leah Hite, RN, cardiovascular services coordinator and director of cardiovascular services at Cartersville Medical Center in Cartersville, GA, were joined on stage by the first ACC Accreditation recipient in South America, Sala Mercado, MD, of Modelo de Cardiologia Privado, SRL, in Córdoba, Argentina. They took turns to discuss how each system successfully listened to the data gathered for accreditation to drive change, strengthen teamwork and improve patient care.

Prior to the 20th Congress, ACC Accreditation Staff Faculty led workshops on various accreditation processes, including the new Chest Pain Center Version 6 Accreditation. Other highlights included a certification boot camp for cardiovascular care coordinators and a general overview of all available services, including the latest Electrophysiology Accreditation and FreeStanding ED Cardiac Care Certification.

Stay updated on news and updates coming from ACC Accreditation Services by following @ACCCVQuality on Twitter and using the hashtag #ACCAccreditation.


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