December 23rd, 2010

Thad Waites: Looking Back at 2010 and Ahead to 2011

To celebrate the holiday season, CardioExchange asked several of our contributors to choose the 3 most important cardiology-related events of the past year and to make 3 predictions for 2011.

Looking back at 2010:

1. Dabigatran, which has been released, and the other oral thrombin inhibitors, which will be released: Imagine, we finally have  a replacement for warfarin, in the appropriate situations. For the patients (and ignoring the cost for the moment), it will be a big improvement — no blood testing, no dietary changes, and take just two pills a day with no adjustments.

2. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, of course. The PPACA is still a work in progress and will be for years to come. But, it will induce and implement the biggest changes in cardiology and general medical practice since Medicare started.

3. The Midei case, or the general governmental scrutiny of excessive use, fraud, and abuse: Cardiology especially has an opportunity here. While the outcome of cases like this could greatly injure our profession, we have a chance to turn defeat into victory. Appropriate-use criteria, professional accreditation of cardiac cath labs, and data-driven improvements in the inpatient and outpatient settings can effectively show our high level of professionalism. A very large, super-majority of us practice this daily and constantly.

Predictions for 2011:

1. The PPACA will not be overturned. It will be implemented in various-sized bits and pieces over the next several years.

2. Cost cuts, requirements to implement EHRs, and other governmental actions will drive even more groups into employed status.

3. The Hospital to Home (H2H) national quality improvement initiative, led by the American College of Cardiology and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, will be a big success.

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