ACC issues white paper on developing, managing CV service line

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The American College of Cardiology's Council on Clinical Practice has issued a new white paper to describe the various aspects of developing and managing a successful cardiovascular (CV) service line.

The transition from traditional fee-for-service payment models to value-based payment models has encouraged physicians and hospitals to work collaboratively to provide more efficient and less costly healthcare. Non-healthcare industries have used a service line approach to improve quality and performance, making use of methodologies such as Six Sigma or Lean to increase efficiencies while maintaining quality, according to the college.

These approaches can be applied to healthcare delivery and, more specifically, are a natural approach for CV care, which accounts for a large percentage of healthcare costs. However, implementation of a well-managed service line requires dynamic leadership, a strong but flexible organizational structure and a commitment to a physician/hospital partnership.

The concept of service line management is not new to hospitals and hospital systems, but the reasons for implementing a service line strategy have changed, the white paper outlined. In the past, most service line strategies were primarily marketing initiatives directed outside hospital walls in an attempt to gain market share. Recently, strategies have focused more internally to address clinical performance, outcomes, patient satisfaction and cost.

Both physicians and hospitals now receive “grades” that are publicly reported, and insurers are changing gradually to value-based decisions when purchasing healthcare services. These changes are encouraging physicians and hospital administrators to take another look at collaborative service line management models.

CV services are inherently conducive to collaborative management. Historically they have been highly visible, highly marketed and account for a large percentage of hospital revenues, but CV services also have been the focus of many Medicare quality and outcome measures. Additionally, development of a service line approach to CV care within a hospital or hospital system engages various members of the healthcare team and shifts responsibility for quality, cost and data management to those actually delivering the care.

The full paper is available here.