Cardiology Magazine — March-April 2011
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Health IT is in the Spotlight at ACC.11

The “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” (ARRA), authorized $20 billion to assist in the development of a robust health information technology (IT) infrastructure. Of that $20 billion, $17.2 billion was allocated towards Medicare and Medicaid incentives to assist providers in adopting health IT. Over the next four years, eligible providers who demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic health record (EHR) technology and performance during the reporting period of each payment year will be eligible for positive payment incentives.

In an effort to educate cardiovascular professionals about these new “meaningful use” requirements, as well as help them overcome the challenges related to health IT adoption and use, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) are hosting two special spotlight sessions on Sunday, April 3 from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. and 2 – 3:30 p.m.

The morning session will focus on health IT “Lessons from the Trenches.” Michael Mirro, M.D., F.A.C.C., Jeff Westcott, M.D., F.A.C.C., and Lee Goldberg, M. D., F.A.C.C., will provide practical advice on implementing health IT in private practice and in a large hospital system. They will also provide first-hand accounts of their experiences with individual EHR systems. This session will also include time for Q&A.

The afternoon session will feature Farzad Mostashari, M.D., Sc.M., deputy national coordinator for programs and policy within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mostashari will give the 2nd Annual James T. Dove Lecture and talk about the possibilities and challenges associated with the EHR Incentive Program and health IT adoption in general. James Tcheng, M.D., F.A.C.C., will provide an overview of “Eligible Providers and Hospital Compliance,” while Floyd Eisenberg, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., senior vice president for health IT at the National Quality Forum (NQF), will talk about “Electronic Quality Reporting.”

In addition to the two spotlight sessions, ACC staff and members of the College’s Informatics Committee will host “EHR Vendor Rounds” at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday and Monday mornings. These rounds, which are open to all ACC.11 participants, will provide a first-hand look at the technological capabilities of vendors in the EHR pavilion. The rounds will start at the Coffee Station located next to the EHR pavilion on the Expo floor. Also, the ACC Informatics Committee will be hosting a special “Health IT Gadgets and Gizmos Show and Tell” on Monday, April 4 at 11:15 a.m. in the ACC Central (Booth #1947) Theater.

ACC Comments on Meaningful Use Stage 2

The ACC recently submitted comments on the second phase of “Meaningful Use” to the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy Committee of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The comments urge the government not to get ahead of technology and vendor ability to develop costeffective solutions. More importantly, the comments urge implementation not to get ahead of physician abilities to “purchase and implement the new solutions while maintaining high-quality patient care.”

The comments express the College’s concern that discussions regarding Stage 2 of Meaningful Use are already well underway, despite Stage 1 having only launched in January. “The federal government and the HIT Policy Committee have no data to suggest that physician practices have been able to successfully complete what has been asked of them for Stage 1; how is it then reasonable to be this far along in the discussions for Stage 2? The only data we have is with respect to the number of individuals who have registered their intent to participate in the new program. Registration and attestation are very different, and we urge the HIT Policy Committee to keep this in mind as the Committee proceeds with finalizing its recommendations to HHS.”

Read the complete comments at

‘PACking’ it in New Orleans

The ACC’s Political Action Committee (PAC) provides unique opportunities for U.S. cardiovascular professionals to build relationships with members of Congress and put a face on the cardiovascular message. It also provides support to candidates for federal office that understand the needs of the cardiovascular community. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about the ACC PAC in New Orleans. A special ACC PAC booth will be located in Lobby D/E of the Morial Convention Center, outside of the Faculty Lounge. In addition, plan to stop by the ACC PAC suite in the New Orleans Marriott April 2 – 4 starting at 9 p.m. each evening. Sunday night will be “CCA Night” in the suite.

JACC Editor-in-Chief to Give 42nd Annual Louis F. Bishop Lecture

Anthony N. DeMaria, M.D., M.A.C.C., editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) will deliver the 42nd Annual Louis F. Bishop Lecture on Sunday, April 3 from 4:45 – 6 p.m. His lecture – “Translating Clinical Research into Clinical Practice” – will address the various limitations to applying clinical research data to individual patients.

Clinical research derives from large groups of patients, while a physician has to apply the findings to an individual patient and that patient may differ in a number of important respects from the patients included in the trial or from the setting in which the trial took place,” DeMaria said.

According to DeMaria, the biggest threat to accuracy in clinical trials is confounding variables. To minimize potential confounders, the best type of study design is the prospective randomized trial because the control group tends to cancel out Unforeseen variables. However, this study design leads to the single biggest limitation of clinical trials: patients enrolled often are not representative of the patients we see clinically.

DeMaria said he hopes attendees will come away with a better understanding of how to balance clinical trial limitations with the use of individual clinician judgment. “Clinical Judgment is very, very important, and will never be replaced by a computer. It’s also the reason that guidelines will always be guidelines. There’s got to be a balance between clinical research data and the judgment of an individual clinician,” he said.