Cardiology Magazine — September-October, 2012
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From The President

ACC Forging Into Digital Revolution

With rapid advances in digital technologies forcing each and every one of us to reassess how we learn, conduct business and communicate both personally and professionally, it’s no big shock that the health care sector as a whole is doing the same.

One of the biggest opportunities for growth lies in the area of education. Last year, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report that looked at “Digital Infrastructure for the Learning Health System: The Foundation for Continuous Improvement in Health and Health Care.” In particular, the report notes that progress in computational science, IT and biomedical and health research methods “has made it possible to foresee the emergence of a learning health system that enables both the seamless and efficient delivery of best care practices and the real-time generation and application of new knowledge.”

In general, the report calls for a shared learning system that involves both patients and health care professionals; embeds research in a continuous learning loop; provides flexibility so that individuals can determine how they want to use the system; offers constant evaluation and improvement; and is focused on accelerating the exchange of health information with the end goal of achieving greater interoperability.

The ACC has taken these qualities to heart as it puts together an overarching digital strategy aimed at ensuring both members and the patients they serve have tools and resources that not only  t today’s digital environment, but are flexible enough to grow and expand as technology advances. This issue of Cardiology provides a closer look at the ACC’s digital vision – a vision that ACC President-Elect John Harold, MD, MACC, is also making the cornerstone of his upcoming presidential year (See cover story and related commentary). It also provides an overview of the new Lifelong Learning Portfolio (LLP), an innovative approach to learning in the digital age, the initial version of which was launched this past August. I encourage everyone to log on CardioSource and try it out and let us know what you think! This is a great example of where we want to head – and are heading – in the digital future.

Also in this issue, don’t miss articles on the ACC’s 2012 Practice Census results; early plans for specialized programming at ACC.13 in San Francisco in March; the creation of a new international governance structure to better meet the needs of international members; and an overview of the new global health policy statement focused on curbing preventable deaths from cardiovascular disease. We also hear from ACC Fellow in Training Committee Chair Scot Lilly, MD, on the subject of critical care cardiology and on successful efforts to improve regional STEMI care in Virginia.

This is an exciting time to be part of the cardiovascular community. We are at a crossroads in health care delivery, technology and more. We have a real opportunity to shape the future, particularly in the digital space. I’m proud to be leading the College at this time and I’m honored to be surrounded by so many dedicated professionals who are willing to turn what could be considered challenges into golden opportunities to further the ACC Mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health.

William A. Zoghbi, MD, FACC
ACC President