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SCAI Announces National Quality Program to Improve Cardiovascular Patient Care

BALTIMORE, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 2011 Scientific Sessions, SCAI announced its national quality improvement program to measure and improve quality in the cath lab for better patient care.

Building on its legacy of using evidence to guide new ways to advance care and improve outcomes, SCAI is launching its national quality program with its signature "Quality Improvement Toolkit" to ensure facilities and providers have the tools necessary to deliver consistent quality care in cath labs as well as the elements requisite for an accredited cardiac catheterization lab.  SCAI's national quality program proactively addresses issues related to appropriateness of care and underscores SCAI's commitment to continuous quality improvement and performance measurement. To that end, SCAI supports five principles in its quality initiative:

  • CQI in the Cath Lab: The new Quality Improvement Toolkit (SCAI-QIT) to improve quality of care for cardiovascular patients will be implemented in hospital cath labs throughout the United States. SCAI has set a goal to engage 125 hospitals in using the SCAI-QIT by December 2011.
  • Accreditation of Cath Labs: Accreditation of Cardiovascular Excellence (ACE) program to accredit cath labs, requiring peer-review of a variety of procedures, including cardiac catheterization, carotid stenting, angiography and coronary artery stenting.
  • Third-Party Peer Review: To further drive CQI in the cath lab, SCAI has released a white paper, "The Quality Imperative: Lessons from the Cath Lab." In it, SCAI calls for uniform use of "cath lab conferences" in which random cases are discussed in open forums by physician peers.
  • Measurement and Public Reporting: SCAI supports the use of risk-adjusted clinical data (rather than administrative claims data) reported to a national database of validated cases to track performance against which patient outcomes can be measured and used to improve quality on a continuous basis.
  • Physician & Patient Education: SCAI supports ongoing physician and patient education on quality cardiovascular care through educational initiatives provided for healthcare providers as well as patients. SCAI's community-based educational series, Know What Counts, brings healthcare consumers together with providers to advance awareness of cardiovascular disease, prevention, and treatment options.

"The Quality Improvement Toolkit is a critical component of a robust and well-rounded CQI program for all physicians and cath lab staff to put in place the correct tools, programs and knowledge infrastructure to improve quality, reduce variability in care and help identify and remediate less-than-optimal performers," said Christopher J. White, MD, FSCAI, SCAI president.  "We see this as an essential part of our commitment to our patients to continuously evaluate our own performance to deliver the best possible care."

SCAI-QIT was developed by SCAI's Quality Improvement Committee over a series of months based on feedback and recommendations from practicing interventional cardiologists across the United States. Components of the toolkit address the following elements critical to cath lab quality:

  • Guidelines development
  • Peer review conferences
  • Random case selection
  • National database participation
  • Pre-procedure checklists
  • Data collection
  • Inventory management

Consistently evaluating quality of care and developing new strategies and tactics to improve quality is at the core of SCAI. The SCAI-QIT is an important step to ensure physicians and cath lab staffs have the tools and resources readily available to ensure the highest quality of care possible in the cath lab. As policymakers and healthcare leaders work to implement new policies designed to incentivize good care that is both appropriate and cost effective, it is critical the medical community help guide and direct these policies to ensure the care delivered is both appropriate and optimal, and is measured based on clinical data, not administrative claims data.

"A quality improvement program, grounded in scientifically rigorous data and accompanied with the appropriate tools and programs in place to measure results will yield better outcomes, help reduce medical costs and improve cardiovascular care for all patients," said Dr. White. "The quality improvement process is essential and critical to advancing patient care, and interventional cardiology has been at the forefront of quality improvement since its inception more than 30 years ago. But we owe it to our patients to always be measuring and evaluating ourselves, and that is exactly what we will do with the quality improvement toolkit in cath labs across the country."

Today, SCAI will host an interactive workshop today to teach a cadre of "Quality Champions" how to use and customize the toolkit for use in their hospitals' cath lab. The Quality Improvement Committee will provide participants with guidance for overcoming potential obstacles, offer tips for getting started with the toolkit and demonstrate how to roll out specific tools in individual hospital and cath lab settings.

The SCAI Quality Improvement Toolkit was developed with support from Daiichi Sankyo Lilly. The Society gratefully acknowledges this support, while taking sole responsibility for all content developed and disseminated through this effort.

About SCAI

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions is a 4,000-member professional organization representing invasive and interventional cardiologists in approximately 70 nations. SCAI's mission is to promote excellence in invasive and interventional cardiovascular medicine through physician education and representation, and advancement of quality standards to enhance patient care. SCAI's annual meeting has become the leading venue for education, discussion and debate about the latest developments in this dynamic medical specialty. SCAI's patient and physician education program, Seconds Count, offers comprehensive information about cardiovascular disease. For more information about SCAI and Seconds Count, visit or

SOURCE Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI)
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