Study: Heart Disease Treatment Is Improving and More Cost-Effective
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one in every four deaths is due to heart disease.
While progress has been made to reduce heart-related deaths in recent years, millions of Americans continue to need cardiac treatment and procedures.
Yet, the types of cardiac services and physicians’ strategies to treat cardiac conditions vary greatly across regions and hospitals. Many services commonly performed or ordered by cardiologists have been identified by professional medical societies as contributing to overutilization, inefficiency and high costs.
Concerned by the variation of care and multiple approaches to treat cardiac disease, Independent Health wanted to learn more from the experts who treat heart disease everyday – the cardiologists themselves.
In 2012, Independent Health convened a group of forward-thinking, cardiologists from the community with the goal to chart a new path of cardiac care in Western New York. Armed with data and open to transparency and collaboration, the group of cardiologists worked to reduce variations in care, reduce costs and build collaboration with primary care physicians.
After a two-year period during which the physicians made efforts to use best practices, evidence-based criteria and share their experiences with each other, the results were positive. Performance reports from 2013 to 2015 indicated:
A significant reduction in the variation of care and closer adherence to evidence-based medicine
A 3.5 percent aggregate cost decrease over the two-year period (compared to previous annual trend increases prior to the engagement)
Improved patient satisfaction
With the success of this initiative with cardiologists, Independent Health has plans to develop strategic partnerships with other specialties.