Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Free Mobile App to Improve the World’s Cardiovascular Health

Top Cardiologist Dr. Valentin Fuster on a Mission to 
Promote a Full “Circle of Health” Around the Globe

Newswise, December 29, 2015— Leading cardiologist Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, has developed a free mobile application called “Circle of Health” to empower individuals around the globe to take action to comprehensively assess and enhance their daily overall heart health. 

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of mortality in the world. Dr. Fuster has created “Circle of Health” for the daily promotion of cardiovascular health worldwide and to reduce the epidemics of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke.

The now internationally available mobile app was developed in English and Spanish by FundaciĆ³n Pro CNIC in Spain, in collaboration with Dr. Fuster and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

Overall, cardiovascular diseases are acquired and largely preventable. The vast majority arise due to one or more of six risk factors that can be prevented or reduced with daily lifestyle and behavior modifications. These six risk factors are: high cholesterol and diabetes (chemical), obesity and high blood pressure (physical), and smoking and lack of exercise (behavioral).

“These abnormal risk factors account for 90 percent of heart attacks and strokes,” says Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Physician-in-Chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital, General Director of the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC), and past president of the American Heart Association and World Heart Federation. 

“Each person needs to pay close attention to these six risk factors and maintain them daily to remain heart healthy and reduce their chances of atherosclerosis, heart attack or stroke.”

“If you want to have good cardiovascular health, you must know what risk factors you have,” adds Dr. Fuster. 

“Simply downloading the new ‘Circle of Health’ mobile app right on your smartphone or tablet can help you.”

Using the mobile app, users learn directly from Dr. Fuster about the six variable risk factors, how to prevent or better manage them, and how to live a healthier and longer life. It assists adults on how to properly measure, prevent, fight, and reduce their risk factors.

The mobile app, developed FundaciĆ³n Pro CNIC and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York in collaboration with Wake App Health, has a unique, multimedia and interactive circular format which creatively incorporates video, audio, and educational graphics. 

It works by comprehensively evaluating your health with an initial questionnaire to assess and measure your baseline cardiovascular health, empowering you with health information and prevention heath tips you need to succeed, and weekly and monthly motivation to establish good habits, reduce bad habits, and providing you with challenges to get more physically activated to improve your health.

“This mobile app is for those people who want to improve their health and lifestyle habits including diet, exercise, and others—and it’s also a very useful tool for those that have or have had any heart attack, stroke, or artery disease to gain knowledge on how to reduce their chances of a future event,” says Dr. Fuster.

“Knowledge is power and you have to make a commitment to take care of your heart and yourself. It’s that simple,” says Dr. Fuster. 

“Cardiovascular disease can be prevented and you are capable of doing so. You now have the ability for no cost to have a tool in your hand that will help you to follow a healthy lifestyle and protect your heart from the ravages of heart disease.”

Currently, there are more than 6 billion people in the world with mobile phones, and nearly 2 billion with smartphones. Given the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets and the mutually growing global threat of cardiovascular diseases, Dr. Fuster believes there is no better way to reach people than via their mobile devices to prevent and reduce the risk factors of heart disease.

“Preventing and managing your heart disease should be as simple as reaching into your pocket or briefcase for a little motivation and support from your mobile device,” says Dr. Fuster. 

“Together you and your mobile device can work together to maintain your own daily ‘Circle of Health’. Don’t wait any longer and start your journey with the ‘Circle of Health’ today.”

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai gratefully acknowledges Sesame Workshop for making available the Sesame Street characters and content from its Healthy Habits for Life programs for use in educating children and their families in connection with this Project.

About Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. 

Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 6,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. 

Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. 

The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked as one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals in Geriatrics, Cardiology/Heart Surgery and Gastroenterology, and is in the top 25 in five other specialties in the 2015-2016 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. 

The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmolgy, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel is ranked regionally.

For more information, visit 
www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Why Online Doctor Ratings are Good Medicine

Newswise, December 8, 2015— A growing number of health consumers are consulting online physician-rating sites when choosing doctors even if the value of those sites—whether they’re reliable sources for information, or capable of driving improvements in health care—is in dispute.

Some studies have shown how letting patients grade their doctors can lead to over-testing and over-treatment as doctors, hoping to improve their scores, bend to unreasonable patient demands.

But a new study in the December issue of Academic Medicine bolsters research linking good patient satisfaction scores with good patient outcomes. And it sheds light on another, unspoken benefit by showing how openly sharing patient satisfaction metrics created a culture of empathy, communication, trust and shared decision making between patients and providers at a health system in Utah: University of Utah Health Care (UUHC).

“Everyone, from payers and policy makers to patients, yearns for reliable, understandable information about the cost and quality of care, and it’s our duty as the region’s sole academic medical center to respond to that demand,” said UUHC’s CEO and the study’s lead author Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A. 

“What we underestimated was how being transparent with our scores would be such a force for cultural change within our organization—a catalyst for engaging physicians in patient-centered care and the glue to further cement the physician-patient relationship.”

The article was co-authored by UUHC’s Chief Medical Officer Thomas Miller, M.D.; Patient Experience Director Chrissy Daniels, M.S.; former Senior Director for Interactive Marketing and Web Brian Gresh, M.P.A; and Lee’s predecessor Lorris A. Betz, M.D., Ph.D.

Betz was the architect of the University’s “exceptional patient experience” initiative. Launched in 2008 with the mantra, “medical care can only be truly great if the patient thinks it is,” the effort culminated in 2012 when UUHC became the first academic medical center in the country to put its patient reviews online, complete with unedited comments and an accessible five-star ranking.

The University didn’t initially set out to go public with its scores. The goal was to improve service and patient care. In 2008, UUHC was saddled with patient complaints about delays in the scheduling of appointments, poor communication and lack of professionalism, among other things. 

Federal patient satisfaction scores placed the system in the 34th percentile nationally, and its quality metrics were average compared to other teaching hospitals.

Yet as the article states: “What began as a patient satisfaction initiative evolved into a model for physician engagement, values-based employment practices, enhanced professionalism and communication, reduced variability in performance, and improved alignment of the mission and vision across hospital and faculty group practice teams.”

Over the past seven years, patient satisfaction has markedly increased. Half of UUHC providers now rank in the top 10 percent when compared to their peers nationally, and 26 percent rank in the top 1 percent.

Neither the quality nor the cost of care has suffered. In fact, for six years running UUHC has placed in the top 10 of the University HealthSystem Consortium’s rankings, a comparison of the nation’s teaching hospitals based on quality and safety. What’s more, UUHC has managed to bend its cost curve even as costs nationally continue to rise.

Employee satisfaction also improved, revenue and patient volumes are up and malpractice litigation declined, resulting in a drop in premiums. 

“This has been truly transformative for our organization. Change didn’t happen overnight, and we faced plenty of challenges,” said UUHC’s Chief Medical Officer Tom Miller, M.D. “But we overcame the challenges, and the solutions we devised are adaptable to other institutions.”

"Creating the Exceptional Patient Experience in One Academic Health System" was published in Academic Medicine online on November 24, 2015