Dawn Smith/Libin Cardiovascular Institute
Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta
The Cumming School of Medicine’s department of cardiac sciences was awarded an Alberta Health Services (AHS) grant in mid-March for a proposal aiming to save patients time, travel and money and reduce the burden on the health-care system.
The proposal, “Calgary CIED (Calgary Implantable Electrical Device) Clinic Referral Process: An Opportunity to Rationalize Cardiac Testing and Improve the Patient Experience,” is led by Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta member Dr. F. Russell Quinn, MD.
Quinn is pleased the proposal will receive a portion of the $325,000 in total project funding provided by the Chief Medical Office and Calgary Zone Medical Affairs’ Quality Improvement Initiative competition, which garnered 33 submissions.
“It’s great that we got the funding. There was stiff competition from a number of other groups,” said Quinn. “It is a great project that will bring together the clinic staff, physicians and hopefully also the patients and referring physicians.”
Quinn said the goals of the project are to cut down on unnecessary and redundant testing and reduce the number of patients who are referred to the CIED Clinic for an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) but don’t receive one because they don’t meet the criteria or choose to not go ahead with the procedure.
Doing so will save the health-care system money, improve the patient experience and make the clinic more efficient for its staff.
According to Quinn, in 2016, about 47 of the clinic’s 250 newly referred patients who visited the clinic didn’t end up with the device being implanted.
He would like to see a decrease in that number, although he noted it will never be zero as it is often appropriate to see and diagnose patients before the decision can be made about the implant.
As part of the proposal, the committee is also looking to improve the referral process for physicians by providing them with guideline-based support. To aid in this goal, Quinn said the committee will be surveying doctors before redesigning the referral form.
Early education of the patients who come from all over Southern Alberta—often driving long distances to visit the clinic—is another goal.
Quinn noted patients will also be asked about their experience, including travel time and expenses, as part of the improvement process.
The goal is to implement changes by August and measure and report the results by April 2018.