Putting Patients at the Heart of the Cardiology Service Line

shutterstock_120955669-390x285Mobility is essential to cardiac physicians. They don’t sit behind a desk all day, but rather are moving back and forth between their clinic, their office and around the hospital. Mobile health products allow cardiac physicians to maintain their access to critical clinical data even while in motion. Accessing data on a handheld device regardless of location is transformational, as it means the cardiac physician doesn’t need to be at the patient bedside to make a timely care decision.

However, mobility in the cardiology service line isn’t ultimately about cardiac physicians – it’s about the patient. When we think about the cardiology service line, we don’t think about the cardiology specialty – we think about a patient with a heart condition. But it’s also important that we look beyond the heart to view our patients comprehensively. Does the patient have any other conditions? What medications are we prescribing?

With this approach, the cardiology service line extends across the care continuum. The care is given by a full team: the cardiologist, hospitalists, internal medicine physician, surgeon and all the other clinicians that are working to provide the patient care. Thus, mobility needs to be approached from a patient-centric angle – not as a service line – since it is a tool for any physician caring for a cardiac patient.

That’s why it’s important to have clinical systems that are connected with each other and are capable of combining data from multiple sources, to provide as complete a picture of the patient as possible. Focusing on only one aspect of a patient’s health can cause risk and make a physician lose sight of the big picture.

Cardiac patients generate a copious amount of data. For example, the electrocardiogram is a graphical representation of a great deal of information, including cardiac rhythm, coronary circulation and heart attack risks. By having the ability to mobilize access to the electrocardiogram and freeing it from that historically static picture we used to have when it was printed out, physicians are able to get the ‘big picture’ view of the cardiac patient’s condition, wherever the patient is within the care continuum.

As data from multiple sources are harmonized into a single source and can follow patient progress from the moment their care begins, we’ve found a way to help specialists and physicians look beyond the single health issue that brought the patient into the hospital and, instead, see the big picture. These factors are driving Texas Health Resources’ patient-centered approach, and in turn are helping enhance both patient satisfaction and quality of care.