Even as virtual care has dropped from the peaks at the beginning of the pandemic, some aspects of it will not go away in cardiology care, said Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, the 70th president of the American College of Cardiology.
Even as virtual care has dropped from the peaks at the beginning of the pandemic, some aspects of it will not go away in cardiology care, said Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, the 70th president of the American College of Cardiology; the Eric and Sheila Samson Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Health and director of disease management for Hoag Heart and Vascular Institute; and associate professor at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.
What virtual care transformations introduced over the past 2 years will inform and improve treatment going forward?
First of all, I think telehealth, even though we peaked right after COVID[-19 began], in terms of 90% in increase, and I think we're down to about 30%, now, but I think that there will be certainly a slow increase. Particularly as we define some of those other added things, so that we really have what we call a virtual care visit. And I think virtual care is more than just a platform, right? And telehealth is just a platform. If we can find all those other pieces, we can provide virtual care. I think that's one.
I also think that patient-reported outcomes are important and remote patient monitoring. So, you know, pacemakers, device checks, implanted devices, all of that data can now inform us. And I think we did a better job of organizing teams to be able to receive that information. And I think that we realized that can work. So, I think that's not going away. And certainly, grappling with all of that data.
So, I think that those are at least a couple of things that I don't think are going to go away.
It's well known there is an ongoing lack of female representation in the cardiology field and its subspecialties. How can we make progress here?
Well, if you go back and look at the publications on this topic, one of the reasons that's been cited is a lack of mentorship, and a lack of role models. Well, let's talk about role models first. And so, I think that's changing. The very fact that I was able to assume presidency from Dr Athena Poppas, I think the face of cardiology is changing. And so, now you have more role models.
We have actively tried to create a pool of physician leaders that are women, at least, in cardiology, and we have a Women in Cardiology section that's very, very robust. We've had leadership training that has been very inclusive of women. And so, all of those are not only providing the mentorship that women need, but also providing them then becoming role models. So, the presence of women in all of the panels, at the meeting in leadership roles has visibly increased. And I think that that is sure to make a difference.
I think the other reason that traditionally that's been cited is the work-life balance or the difficult hours and all that, and I think that's also changing as we pivot to things like digital transformation and telehealth. I think as we have team-based care. I think as we've had a national conversation about clinician wellness and recognizing that we have to care for ourselves. I think all of those conversations are changing the flavor of them.