This past year, the ACC undertook the Herculean task of developing a new strategic plan to guide the College over the next five years. A special task force of ACC leaders and staff was charged with gathering necessary information and identifying key mission areas with the goal of developing the best path forward over the College’s near-term future.

Importance for ACC to Address These IssuesIn December 2013, the ACC’s Board of Trustees approved the new plan which is based on six key strategic priorities, including: 1) transformation of care, 2) data information and knowledge, 3) purposeful education, 4) membership value and engagement, 5) advocacy, and 6) population health. The importance of these priorities mirrors member sentiment according to a CardioSurve survey of 146 panelists conducted in the summer of 2013. At the time, survey respondents identified improving clinical delivery of care (90%); performance-based education (83%); preparing for care delivery system changes (82%); promoting public health and prevention (79%), patient registry data (66%), increasing personalized value of ACC membership (57%), and supporting electronic health records (57%), as the most important issues for the College to address.

These issues were also ones that clinicians said the ACC has the ability to impact and influence. Arguably the newest focus for the College will be in the area of population health. As part of the strategic plan, this means pursuing transparent partnerships with medical professional societies, industry, payers, consumer companies and other stakeholders around patient education, primary prevention, quality improvement and other public health objectives related to cardiovascular disease.

Based on CardioSurve data, most cardiologists felt the ACC should focus this area on patient education from/for cardiologists (88%), general heart healthy information aimed at consumers (71%), and/or patient education from/for primary care physicians (48%). Primary prevention for the general public (88%), secondary prevention for patients (69%), and disparities in care (26%), were viewed as the hottest topics to address.

Areas of ACC Involvement in Public Health/Prevention EducationAlmost half (47%) of clinicians also said the ACC should play a supporting role to other organizations in advocating on population health or prevention issues, while the other half (46%) indicated the College should lead the efforts. In particular, respondents noted the importance of ACC’s current public health efforts, including the Million Hearts initiative (71%), state-based health initiatives (67%), and the Choosing Wisely campaign (61%).

The overall purpose of the strategic plan is to re-envision specialty care with the goal of positioning the ACC as the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. To accomplish this, the College is not only committed to supporting members in their expanded accountability to improve the health of populations, but also to increase membership value and engagement and help to transform cardiovascular care and meet the “Triple Aim” of better care, better outcomes and lower costs.

Providing members with purposeful education tools, ensuring members are empowered to serve as effective advocates for sound health policies, and recognizing the importance of data, information and the development of knowledge in both education and care transformation, are also at the heart of the Strategic Plan.

In a recent issue of Cardiology magazine, John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, president of the ACC, Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, FACC, president-elect of the ACC, and Richard Chazal, MD, FACC, vice chair of the ACC’s Strategic Planning Taskforce, noted, “This is our opportunity to shape the future of the College and cardiovascular medicine. Our heritage as an unparalleled educational institution, our extensive work in quality improvement, and our advocacy for quality patient care provide the background for success – and we will succeed!”