In response to the needs voiced by patients and clinicians, the ACC launched its premier patient centered care tool — the CardioSmart National Care Initiative — to assist heart patients and people at risk of heart disease in making better and more thoughtful choices in their everyday lives. The goal of the program is to make CardioSmart resources an extension of the clinician-patient interaction that is grounded in guideline-based CV care and prevention.

Appeal of CardioSmart Offerings to CliniciansWhile research revealed that most clinicians and patients are less aware of CardioSmart, they are interested in the concept and the material. Two- thirds of health professionals (69%) report that they would like to receive more information on the CardioSmart program and half (49%) are likely to use CardioSmart at their practice. Clinicians working at independent solo or group practices are more likely to express stronger interest in the CardioSmart offering than are their counterparts at hospital-affiliated practices. Half of patients (47%) are very favorable toward the CardioSmart concept.

Clinicians and patients are aligned in what they find appealing about the CardioSmart offering, specifically: the CardioSmart website, disease state fact sheets, evidenced-based information about the available options and outcomes of procedures and treatments, risk assessments/calculators, lifestyle health coaching programs, written and audio education modules, and guideline-based goals.

In February, the College rolled out its newly redesigned CardioSmart.org, a new digital and mobile platform to inform and inspire patients, caregivers, and consumers to make positive changes in their conditions and lives.

The site includes more than 30 specialized condition centers, an online activity tracker, and much more, all of which are intended to help patients understand their condition, communicate with their doctor, make healthy lifestyle choices and understand the latest research.

Given that most physicians in private practice (56%) indicate they rely more heavily on their practice website to communicate patient information than cardiologists in other practice settings (CardioSurve April 2012 survey among 170 cardiologists), it is hoped the new CardioSmart.org will serve as an extension of the office and office portal.

Appeal of CardioSmart Offerings to PatientsThe College has also expanded and enhanced the CardioSmart “ecosystem” to include patient-centered tools such as text messaging, mobile apps, CardioSmartTV, a CardioSmart Clinical Community and practice toolkits. Existing text messaging streams are focused on heart disease prevention tips (PREVENT) and smoking cessation (QUIT/DEJA). The Heart Explorer App, which is available for free to ACC members, was also recently updated and serves as a point-of-care tool for visually educating patients about their disease and/or a procedure. In addition, the new CardioSource Clinical Community under the guidance of Editor Andrew Freeman, MD, FACC, introduces ACC members to ways in which CardioSmart can serve as their vehicle for facilitating more patient-centered care, while CardioSmartTV is aimed at providing educational programming around heart health for patients in a practice or hospital waiting room.

Moving forward, the College is committed to continuing to help foster the patient-provider relationship. This will be even more important in the coming years with programs like the federal Electronic Health Record Incentive Program (Meaningful Use) potentially requiring measurement of patient satisfaction as a means of assessing physician payment. Currently, almost two-thirds (64%) of practices report having an instrument which captures a patient’s experience and feedback, and most cardiologists rate their practice highly on incorporating patient preferences/values in decision making (76%) and patient engagement (75%). However, only 52% are satisfied with the level of routine patient feedback to doctors. Further, the overall satisfaction of the patient feedback tools is lukewarm, with approximately four out of 10 having some level of satisfaction, while six out of 10 are neutral or not satisfied. With two out of three cardiologists indicating they would use an ACC patient experience measurement tool if available, the College has continued opportunities to fill a niche for its members.