Cardiology Magazine — July - August 2012
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From The President

A Proven Method for Quality Improvement

I n a recent JACC President’s Page, I wrote about W. Edwards Deming, the father of modern quality control, who promulgated an iterative four-step method for continuously improving business processes known as PDSA, or Plan, Do, Study and Act.

I noted that the ACC uses this same method in its quality efforts. This issue of Cardiology takes a closer look at the many ways the College is implementing PDSA, starting with the cover story highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with advances in science and research related to genetics, robotics and biotechnology. After reading this piece, we should all be excited about planning.

When it comes to “doing,” the College’s guidelines, performance measures, and appropriate use criteria (AUC) are the result of prior analyses and the foundation of our plans to achieve everbetter outcomes. Not only does this issue highlight the latest clinical documents on CardioSource, it also attempts to debunk some of the myths perpetuating current discussions around AUC (page 12).

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of “study” is NCDR®. This issue provides a closer look at the benefits of having NCDR physician champions within hospital systems who can study the results of quarterly reports and galvanize action (page 10) . You can also get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into developing risk-adjusted outcomes in the NCDR (page 8), as well as learn more about the many ways the PINNACLE Registry® is growing to meet the “study” needs of practices (page 14).

The “act” portion of the process is carried out though quality initiatives like Hospital to Home, PINNACLE and Imaging in FOCUS at the national level, as well as Chapter-level programs like “RACE” in North Carolina (page 28). Don’t miss first-hand accounts from “doers” in the field who are working to reduce unnecessary heart failure readmissions (page 16); provide support for female heart patients (page 30); build congenital heart programs in their region (page 31) ; and provide innovative education and training opportunities to the next generation of cardiovascular specialists (pages 25 and 26).

I’ve said it before: “Plan, do, study, act…it’s an iterative process…and a proven path to progress.” Let’s keep up the great work!

William A. Zoghbi, MD, FACC
ACC President