Women Heart Programs at ACC.22: Developing the Business Case

Cardiology Magazine

The ACC.22 conference was not only a weekend full of debates, case presentations and guideline updates, but an opportunity for unexpected networking and education. I, along with many others, spent Monday morning learning from the best on how to develop the business case for women heart programs in the Women in Cardiology Lounge. Session chairs, Toniya Singh, MD, FACC, and Laxmi Mehta, MD, FACC, introduced a fantastic line up to review the nuts and bolts from development to assessment.

Many women and men, from various stages of their careers, gathered in the WIC Lounge to first hear from Denise Busman, MSN, vice president of Care Transformation at MedAxiom. I do not have a business background, but Busman outlined the steps and timeline to start a program and then evaluate it. If you are planning to build a program in your career, this is an excellent "How To".

Some essential steps are outlined here:

  1. Gather a clinical and operational team to determine the focus of the program and care you will provide.
  2. Develop an executive summary and operating plan.
  3. Make the pitch.

In recent years there has been significant publications regarding gender disparities and bias in cardiology. Jennifer Mieres, MD, FACC, highlighted work by Pam Douglas, MD, FACC, "2022 Building Respect, Civility, and Inclusion in the Cardiovascular Workplace" which is a fundamental and pillar for a successful program. Cathleen Biga, MSN, RN, FACC, followed with a review on subs-specialty clinics with care pathways and care models.

Key program elements include:

  1. Service development- scheduling, access, referrals
  2. Shared clinical decision making- care pathways, patient identification, risk stratification
  3. Disease management strategy
  4. Performance management- process measures, outcomes measures

So…. has anyone else heard of the elevator speech or practiced something similar to it? Well, here is the perfect opportunity to start. Cathleen Biga, MSN, RN, FACC, shared what your elevator pitch should include, from clinics to communities, and referral patterns to the finances. I, still focused on my elevator speech, quickly started to take notes on building a community with Annabelle Volgman, MD, FACC. Next, Gina Lundberg MD, FACC, presented her pearls on engaging the patient to empower themselves for their own heart health. This leads to advocacy. I've always felt confident in being a patient advocate at the workplace, but the thought of bringing those tools to the legislators in my community was not on my docket until now. Shannon Hayes, MD, FACC, inspired me – and many others, by the glimmer I saw in the eyes – to step out of our shells and push the boundaries. Take the next steps. And most importantly, reach out.

Practices will look different for all, from academics to true private practices. This session gave a solid overview and foundation to start a women heart program. And for those interested in crafting a research and training program, Margo Minissian, PhD, ACNP opened the doors for opportunities in registries, biorepositories, funding and training for one to explore. I'm looking forward to additional series and resources to supplement the 90-minute session because when you follow your passion, it no longer feels like work.

Slides for the ACC.22 Women Heart Programs: Developing the Business Case presentation are available here.

This article was authored by Toral Patel, MD.

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