American College of Cardiology outlines agenda for implementing, verifying new technologies

By Dave Muoio
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As digital health, big data, and personalized medicine continue to stake their claim within healthcare, professional associations are starting to take notice. The latest is the American College of Cardiology (ACC), which recently published a policy paper highlighting its outlook on the future of care and technology’s role within it.

“Important within [healthcare’s] transformation are newly developed and rapidly evolving technology-based innovations,” members of the ACC wrote in the Journal of the American College of Cardiologists. “Achieving meaningful transformation requires organizational governance to guide the development of clinical programs and the next phase of research methodologies, and to align the objectives from a cooperative network of partners and stakeholders.”

The paper outlined a series of broad goals for the organization and its partners to pursue, chief among which is the need to develop a body of evidence-based knowledge surrounding the use of these technologies. Because swift technology adoption may result in unintended health consequences and system expenses, the group said that reviewing the available evidence; establishing working groups; and disseminating best-practice models focused on workflow integration, cost, and outcomes.

“To identify best practices, the ACC is currently pursuing, and will continue to request, input from those practitioners and administrators who have successfully utilized new technologies within value-based practice environments,” they wrote. “Continuous dissemination of information and the emerging evidence of best practices will enable the ACC to engage our members in ongoing needs assessments and to promote policy dialogues relevant to stakeholders and payers.”

Key among the ACC’s other outlined goals was leveraging the technologies as resources to accelerate care. To do so, the organization wrote that it will be working toward revising and optimizing clinical workflows with technology, reinforcing efforts to make clinical data more open and transparent, and engaging patients not as end-users but as partners.

“New technology-based programs can be designed and focused on patient-centric models of care to allow patients to access their data and contribute to shared decision-making,” they wrote. “Patient-centered innovation within the early stages of research and technology development can enable rapid identification of high-priority clinical problems and gaps in care delivery, and may guide post-market approval, including decisions for payment coverage as new innovations are translated into patient care. Inclusion of diverse patient populations and those located in international, rural, and underserved communities will advance our knowledge of the effectiveness of new innovations.”

The agenda detailed a number of other objectives, including the creation of innovation platforms for technology development and evaluation, and a “Compact for Human-Centered Design” focused on the principles of practice and patient engagement. While the group was still hesitant to herald any shift toward any virtual or real-time approaches, they wrote that it was vital healthcare carefully embrace these new technologies and their potential benefits.

“This agenda is meant to be a starting point and assumes a level of flexibility required in dynamic and evolving fields,” they wrote. “At the heart of the ACC’s ongoing innovation efforts will remain continuous stakeholder engagement and feedback to better understand the high-impact accelerators that promote healthcare transformation and transparency, the drivers of patient and consumer expectations, and those accelerants that enable the creation of new multidimensional datasets that provide rich insights for the next phase of research and patient care.”