CVForward > Thought About Launching a TAVR Program?
Take a random sampling of cardiovascular team members from across the country. Now ask them whether their facility is likely to launch a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program. You’ll probably hear some similar responses:
No way. We could never do that here.
We’re a for-profit hospital.
Our patient population is mostly indigent.
We’d never recoup the investment.
Our administrators won’t sign off on that.
For every compelling “pro” to launching a TAVR program—meeting a critical need in your community, adding to your facility’s reputation, improving patient outcomes—there’s a seemingly insurmountable “con.”
And that con has a whole bunch of dollar signs in front of it.
No one appreciates this uphill battle more than E. Kristine Hammer, Director, Cardiovascular Procedural Service Line at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, FL. At her hospital, approximately 60% of the patient volume is comprised of an indigent population. Nevertheless, the center wanted its patients to benefit from the cutting-edge technologies of a TAVR program. So she approached leadership at the system level for a win-win solution. Here are the steps she took to make a TAVR program a reality for her center.
The first step to a successful TAVR program launch is lining up committed individuals—team members who will shepherd the process from inception to completion. “We knew that a TAVR program is multifaceted,” Ms. Hammer says. “It involves medical, marketing, financial, and community aspects; so we decided on a 3-pronged approach to selecting our champions.” She recruited:
What makes an effective champion? Ms. Hammer sees it as a combination of pedigree and personality. “For a physician champion especially, they must be respected among their peers and have a history of solid clinical results. They need complete dedication—a willingness to do dinner meetings and weekend workshops. They also need a talent for pushing the envelope without alienating people.”
How do you begin the search? Ms. Hammer sees several approaches.
Once Ms. Hammer had her champions lined up, it was time to start crafting a persuasive story to management for launching a TAVR program.
The champions were assembled. The data gathered. Now Ms. Hammer faced her biggest hurdle: presenting her TAVR case to management in hopes of a green light and essential resources. Ms. Hammer recalls her game plan:
While it took a total of 10 months from concept to completion, the results were gratifying. Not only did the approved plan deliver significant increases for other service lines, but also a benefit that Ms. Hammer finds particularly rewarding: “To date, we have had zero mortalities and only 1 complication in our TAVR program. And that complication was quickly and successfully resolved.”
And ultimately, those are the results that matter most of all.
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