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Anticipating the ACC

March 26, 2014
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Expectations for the American College of Cardiology 2014 meeting are high given the venue of Washington, D.C.

This weekend, March 29-31 is the 63rd annual American College of Cardiology meeting to be held in Washington, DC.  Similar to other meetings, this represents a great opportunity to hear and see what’s new in the world of cardiology. 

The venue is interesting in that cardiology has been slow to react to the changes in healthcare policy, so it will be interesting to see how much emphasis there is on cardiology’s changing role. I have blogged in the past on how cardiology is playing catchup to radiology when it comes to addressing an information systems environment that better positions cardiology services for ARRA/MU. 

I am sensitive to just how much of a bigger challenge it is for cardiology services because cardiology is much more complex than radiology when it comes to the number of systems to interoperate.  In many ways it’s almost like there are multiple services within one service.  At least that’s the way many cardiology services are structured.  And, of course then there is the overlap with radiology services.  In many departments, nuclear imaging is handled by radiology, while the stress portion of a nuclear stress exam is handled by cardiology.  I actually just ran into an instance where Echocardiography is part of radiology! 

I will be paying particular attention to how sensitized vendors are to this, and as to what is said.  The emphasis still seems to be on improvement to reporting modules, but there are signs the industry is beginning to appreciate the need for greater attention on those elements of study management that will impact ARRA/MU. 

Another trend I see is the consolidation of cardiologist practices with cardiovascular service operations.  Cardiologists don’t want to face the additional requirements associated with ARRA/MU, and they appear intent on selling their practices before this becomes a bigger issue.  It will be interesting to see whether there is any emphasis on addressing tying physician office and hospital systems together, as there may be disparate system between operations. 

It will also be interesting to see what level of emphasis is placed on the growing radiology interest in VNA’s (vendor neutral archives) and universal viewers.  As might be expected, the challenges for cardiology applications are greater than for radiology, particularly in the context of dynamic images.

All in all, it should be an interesting meeting.  I will report on what I see and how well my expectations are met!  At least it might not be snowing in Washington, DC this weekend!