"Yes we can"

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Kaitlyn Dmyterko, staff writer

“Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes we can,” sings Will.I.Am., employing a sentiment of President Barack Obama. Stroke data published this week by the CDC and the AHA show that the words of this song Yes we can, may sing a similar tune. The organizations reported that stroke and heart disease-related mortality has decreased significantly over the past 10 years; however, the lofty healthcare expenditures associated with the disease are still emptying America’s pockets.

On Monday, the CDC released new data showing that stroke takes a backseat to chronic lower respiratory diseases, which have replaced stroke as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. For years stroke has been tapped as the nation’s third leading cause of death, but now has been pushed back into fourth.

AHA’s Dr. Ralph Sacco offered that the association has reached its 2010 goal, which was reducing stroke deaths by 25 percent. By 2020, the AHA aims to reduce incidence of stroke-related mortality even further, by 20 percent.

However, good news never comes without the bad. The Circulation statistics released yesterday showed that while the rates of stroke death decreased by almost 45 percent, the costs associated with the diseases have reach almost $286 billion--more than costs related to all cancers.

However, the clinical battle is not over despite the improved patient outcomes, as the AHA reported that still more than half of patients with high blood pressure do not have it under control.

In other economic news, an analysis of the FAME study  found that fractional flow research (FFR)-guided PCI in multivessel coronary disease realizes a cost-savings of just under $2,500 to the U.S. healthcare system.

Lastly, in an attempt to bolster patient care and lower costs, six major health systems will join the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and have the ability to access medical information for over 10 million patients. The collaboration hopes to facilitate better outcomes due to the fact that they will now share quality data and cost information.

Practitioners are learning that new devices and prevention measures can help prevent the common conditions and chronic disease that kill or disable thousands of patients each year, like stroke. And while reducing the risk of stroke is a huge feat, we must look towards more cost-effective, capable prevention and treatment strategies that both heal and repair patients. The mantra of the healthcare industry perhaps should mimic Will.I.Am with "Yes we can."

How are you cutting costs and improving care? Write in and let us know.

Kaitlyn Dmyterko
Staff Writer