In May 2012, the American College of Cardiology convened a workgroup to develop ways to better organize its offerings and support the professional needs of its members. The group identified 7 overarching areas of professional focus and 19 supporting statements to better define those needs. The broad-based areas of focus for the cardiovascular professional include (see first image on right):
To validate this conceptual framework, in April 2013 the CardioSurve panel was provided with these overarching areas of focus and statements and asked to evaluate the content of each one. Overall, cardiologists are in agreement that both the areas of professional focus and the needs statements that elaborate those areas are valid and make sense.
The first task of the CardioSurve panel was to determine if they believed that any area was excluded or missing. The majority (77%) said that the current list was complete while 15% felt the list was incomplete. Many of the comments about what was missing from the framework largely centered on advocacy efforts. According to one cardiologist, “I think lobbying on our behalf should be on top of the list, we do NOT have a voice in medicine.”
Panelists were then asked to focus on the specific 19 statements that better define the needs of professional focus and to identify any statement that requires additional clarification or if any further statement should be included to make the list complete.
Based on the findings, the cardiovascular workgroup successfully identified and summarized the primary list of professional needs of the cardiovascular clinician. Less than one-in-ten panelists felt that the list of needs was unclear and even fewer (6%) indicated that the list was incomplete.
Next, cardiologists were asked to specify which needs were most important in supporting their professional role. Not surprisingly, most were interested in material and content that support clinical care and allow them to stay current and informed. Ensuring the delivery of high-quality care according to the latest clinical standards tops all professional needs with 89% of cardiovascular physicians rating it critically important.
Cardiologists also identified performance improvement activities and new care methods as important to their professional needs, particularly the ability to address gaps in knowledge and skills.
Other areas of professional needs were less individual and extended to the cardiovascular community in terms of teaching, information exchange and networking.
The final area of professional need that was important to clinicians, although less so in comparison to other needs, was the management of the business aspects of cardiology.
Clearly this overarching framework will provide the ACC with a good infrastructure for the organization of content and material to align with the professional needs of the cardiovascular community particularly as the changes in the requirements for maintenance of certification take effect in 2014. This core foundation will serve to enhance the development of tools and resources that best support the delivery of optimal clinical care for patients.