Five TIPS for Integrating Vascular Into a Cardiac Continuum

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Kelly Neal Wilson copyBy Kelly Neal Wilson

Vascular services represent a dynamic and progressively important component of the cardiovascular continuum in programs across the country. Fueled by improved disease   awareness, better patient accessibility and education, fiscal appeal, rapid technological advancement, and multidisciplinary physician interest, hospitals continue to actively pursue vascular services expansions…as they should!

Eroding procedural volumes both in the invasive and non-invasive departments within cardiovascular services persists, causing physicians and administrators to collaborate on ways to protect declining volumes. As a result, vascular has emerged as an attractive growth opportunity.

Corazon recommends the following when considering the integration of vascular services into the cardiac continuum:

  1. Perform comprehensive analysis of current market capture for vascular medical and surgical procedures, and then compare utilization rates to state and national benchmarks. This analysis will validate whether vascular services are, in fact, an underutilized service offering in your market, which will help with decision-making about the potential for expansion.
  2. Engage both specialists and primary care physicians in discussions about expansion. Vascular screening and detection will require the support and diligence of practices across the continuum. Meanwhile, focused attention on vascular disease must be incorporated in the day-to-day operations of referring physicians and PCPs. Involving podiatry rounds-out the multidisciplinary team to cover the varied referral sources to the program.
  3. Use a vascular coordinator as an effective way to monitor/cultivate referrals and ensure patient follow-up as a means to prevent fragmented longitudinal care. This role is constantly evolving and requires excellent communication skills and the ability to engage primary care and referring physicians.
  4. Create a vascular quality metrics dashboard and track/report outcomes as part of the CV Service Line. Ensure each specialty providing vascular care services is being measured by the same quality outcomes. Include physician peer review as part of the quarterly quality process and use performance as component of re-credentialing.
  5. Commit marketing dollars to increase vascular awareness in the community and direct patients to screening events. Physician CME sessions with a focus on vascular detection and current therapeutic offerings available also raises awareness within a hospital’s medical staff and helps promote referrals within the system.

Understanding the defined treatment strategies and developing cohesive and collaborative systems of care among providers and facilities will ensure future success and profitability — though these are not easy tasks to accomplish!  Untapped clinical and financial opportunity exists in almost every market, but requires creative strategies to capture. Strong physician collaboration, from primary care through the vascular specialists, is an essential first step to meeting patient needs in a constantly changing healthcare environment.

From there, the possibilities are endless.

Corazon offers consulting, recruitment, interim management, and physician practice & alignment services to hospitals and practices in the heart, vascular, neuro, and orthopedics specialties.  To learn more, call  412-364-8200 or visit www.corazoninc.com.