Enhancing cardiac care to meet the evolving needs of clinicians and patients
The pressure on cardiology departments and health system is increasing around the world, with nearly 18 million people dying annually from cardiovascular disease (CVD) – more than from any other cause.
At the same time, cardiologists and their care teams are challenged with improving patient outcomes while reducing costs and managing staff shortages due to burn out and backlogs.
Philips understands and is responding to address these complex challenges. Philips’ purpose is to improve people's health and well-being through meaningful innovation. For cardiovascular disease care, we are committed to innovating solutions to improve care and quality of life for patients who are living with CVD.
For World Heart Day 2022, we asked four cardiology leaders at Philips to share their thoughts on the top trends in cardiac care, the challenges clinicians and health systems face, and the keys to achieving mutually beneficial partnerships among industry and clinicians that can result in improved patient care and reduce strain on healthcare systems globally.
How have you seen the healthcare change in the last few years?
Jennifer Franke, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Cardiology:
In my travels to hospitals around the world, I am seeing a trend toward staff working fewer hours to protect themselves from the stress of the job. They know they will be in this role until they retire, so they are reducing their time at the hospital to have less tension and stress.
Staff shortages present an opportunity for us to help healthcare systems identify solutions that improve efficiency and streamline care because we know caseloads are not going down."
Jennifer Franke, M.D.
Sanjay Gandhi, M.D., Senior Director, Medical Strategy & Innovation:
Traditionally, we think of healthcare delivery as physicians seeing patients in a clinic or hospital setting. I think that is changing. We have new entrants like Google, Apple and Microsoft that are bringing a different perspective to healthcare delivery. On top of that, you have companies bringing pharmacies to local markets to bring care closer to home. The way I think of healthcare delivery and how it's going to be shaped would be that the high-complexity care would stay within the hospital systems, but everything else is then going to go into the community.
Alexandra Gonçalves, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Precision Diagnosis:
We have made great advances on the treatment of CV disease, but there is so much more to be done on prevention and early diagnosis. Unfortunately, in the last 2 years of the pandemic, the focus on prevention and early diagnosis was pushed aside. We are still seeing the repercussions by the number of patients who are coming back to care with more advanced disease.
Manish Wadhwa, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Biotelemetry:
The pandemic really changed the world for a lot of us. Telemedicine has been the star. Clinicians had to rely on objective data from remote monitoring devices to care for patients, and it reinforced our thinking that we could effectively manage patients without actually seeing them.
Healthcare is still a people profession; however, remote monitoring capabilities will continue to expand. We’ll have more data to guide our decisions between in-person visits, and that is certainly beneficial for patients."
Manish Wadhwa, M.D.
How can we help clinicians adapt knowing that these trends are shaping cardiac care?
Manish: Let’s take hypertension as an example. There is still a need to improve care for something as basic as hypertension with remote monitoring. This is less of a technological challenge and more of a paradigm shift in how we deliver care, switching from within the four walls of the exam room to the four walls of the living room. There are many conditions that can move in this direction. Philips and clinical teams must work together to create solutions and help shape the vision for a better way of delivering care.
Jennifer: Our role, as an industry partner, is to help clinicians and health systems work together to co-create innovative solutions. For example, clinicians get frustrated if they have to do data entry four times on the same patient. They ask, ‘Why can’t this be solved for me?’ Yes, it is our role to fix the smaller things, but we also want to think broadly about how we can improve and integrate cardiac care from the very start of an episode, all the way through recovery and home care.
Alexandra: The ability to communicate remotely between care teams and to diagnose patients without being physically present is an exciting way to enhance cardiac care. Using Philips Collaboration Live platforms, which lets users remotely connect with staff in real time during an exam regardless of location, we can have a person doing a study inside a room and another person sitting miles away and both can collaborate, seeing exactly what is going on. This can be incredibly helpful in terms of access to care and expansion of the knowledge to any location.
With access to good quality information, you can provide a proper diagnosis with confidence."
Alexandra Goncalves M.D.
Sanjay: One of the biggest challenges healthcare systems face is how to utilize technology and data. This is where industry can play a much bigger role because managing data and presenting it in a meaningful way is our wheelhouse.
How can Philips work with its partners to co-innovate solutions and enhance cardiac care?
Jennifer: The care experience goes beyond the patient-care team interaction. It’s about informing the patient about their procedure or visit to a care facility and making sure they feel comfortable and confident when they enter a hospital, a cath lab or even an MR scanner. Oftentimes physicians and clinicians forget the stress patients may be experiencing as they enter a clinical setting, and we consider ways to elevate any unnecessary anxiety for patients – including design and orientation of a clinical space – to make the experience less intimidating.
Manish: Co-innovating solutions starts with gaining a true understanding of what is being done in the clinical world. What are physicians, hospital administrators, or department leaders doing? Gaining that understanding requires industry to literally follow clinicians around all day to really understand what they do and the challenges they frequently face.
Alexandra: It all comes down to good teamwork. Good teamwork means we can co-innovate solutions that are integrated and make the lives of healthcare providers easier. Especially today, health workers are asked to do more with less. We need to reduce staff burden while still achieving the best outcomes for our patients. Through teamwork, we have seen greater progress and we’ve seen it happen more quickly.
Sanjay: Understanding the pain points of care teams is critical. We have to keep asking them what their challenges are, and through collaboration identify solutions. To do this, we all must improve how we share data and that starts by building trust. Once you have trust among healthcare providers, care teams, and industry greater strides can be made toward innovating new solutions.
Why are integrated solutions across the entire cardiac care pathway important?
Manish: A person’s cardiac condition doesn't go away when they step out of the doctor’s office. You don't have hypertension or diabetes or an arrhythmia for the 10 minutes you're sitting there. You have it every minute you are alive. So what about those times away from the doctor’s office? How are we evaluating patients during those times? We need to use remote monitoring to collect meaningful data outside of doctor visits to enhance cardiac care.
Jennifer: Often hospitals provide clinicians with certain tools that are supposed to make their lives easier, but they're not integrated in a way that allows clinicians to see the relevant patient history. This is why it’s important for Philips as a partner to make sure our solutions are not just innovative, but as connected and interoperable as possible so we are truly improving cardiac care experiences for clinicians and patients.
Alexandra: We talk a lot about various modalities and how they can enhance cardiac care, but there's the informatics piece that is the common thread which connects systems and software together bringing the right data to the right decision maker at the right time.
Sanjay: We want to make sure that the technology is actually working for providers rather than providers working for technology. Whatever interface is developed, whatever technological tools are developed, we want to make sure that they keep that provider experience in mind.
We must use technology to enhance data insights looking at the patient journey holistically across the entire continuum to transform care."
Sanjay Gandhi, M.D.
This year’s World Heart Day theme is ‘Use Heart for Every Heart’ – focusing on the need to think differently to find various, innovative ways to beat cardiovascular disease and achieve cardiovascular health for every heart. Through partnerships with clinicians around the world, Philips can continuously innovate and offer integrated solutions that elevate and expand cardiac care to all. Our solutions span the entire cardiac care journey, from early detection, diagnosis and treatment, and long-term follow-up. To learn more, click here.
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