Investing in the best: How we provide top-rated heart care.

by Stuart F. Seides, MD
August 20, 2021

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute has once again been ranked a top heart hospital by US News & World Report.

This ranking—which climbed from #37 in 2020 to #30 in 2021—reflects our dedication to exceptional patient care. It is based on our ratings in services with the highest impact on a patient outcomes and experiences. For example, we received an “Excellent” score in critical areas such as:

  • Implementing advanced technologies to continually improve our processes and treatments
  • Providing full-circle cardiovascular care, from preventive care to follow-up cardiac rehabilitation
  • Discharging patients to their homes instead of another care facility

After a year in which patient safety was more important than ever, we are humbled by this ranking—and recognize that this honor is just part of our story.

Patients are at the center of everything we do. Our legacy and reputation are grounded in our goal to provide the best patient experience while continually recognizing opportunities for improvement.

@MedStarWHC was again ranked a top heart hospital by @usnews. Physician Executive Director Stuart Seides, MD, discusses 4 key areas that contribute to outstanding #PatientCare: https://bit.ly/3y2Mvnl.

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People are our priority.

We’ve always known that people are our most valuable resource—as much or more so than our technology or facilities—and our performance during the pandemic further demonstrated this. We did not pause essential care for cardiovascular patients during the pandemic, and we rapidly pivoted to telehealth where we could, proving our team’s dedication to patient care and a life of service.

This is especially evident in five key areas that affect the patient experience:

  1. Volume and physician expertise
  2. Comprehensive scope of advanced services
  3. Specialized cardiac nurses
  4. Cardiac prevention and rehabilitation
  5. Dedication to research

1. Volume and physician expertise.

We have the highest patient volume in our region and are among the highest performing cardiovascular institutions nationwide. Higher volumes lead to better outcomes because experience builds expertise. As a tertiary referral center for both straightforward and complex cases seen regionally and nationally, we routinely serve patients from Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, western and southern Maryland, Baltimore, and beyond.

While there are few cardiac conditions we haven’t seen, our treatment planning capabilities for new or rare cases far exceed those of smaller and less experienced centers. We have a large and diverse staff comprising generalists, specialists, and subspecialists who dedicate themselves to refining the optimal approaches designed for specific conditions and related procedures.

2. Comprehensive scope of advanced services.

We offer the widest range of treatment options and devices for patients with structural heart disease (valve disease, congenital heart defects and stroke prevention). Our team of electrophysiologists and cardiac surgeons are the most experienced physicians in this region offering treatment for both paroxysmal and long-term, persistent atrial fibrillation. Our advanced heart failure team is a leader in the implantation of Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs), heart transplantation and innovative treatments for infiltrative cardiomyopathy.

3. Specialized cardiac nurses.

Providing excellent patient experiences relies heavily on high-quality nursing care—and our nurses are exceptional. Day to day and moment to moment, our specialized cardiovascular nurses are the frontline of our care, serving as the liaison between the patient and their specialists.

We continue to invest in nursing leaders who are attuned to the value of ongoing training and creating a strong, supportive environment. Our nurses have the opportunity to participate in research that uses technologies, medications, and procedures not available anywhere else.

4. Cardiac prevention and rehabilitation.

We offer free online cardiac health risk assessments so people can understand their individual risk of developing heart disease and then take action before a major cardiac event occurs. MedStar Health physicians provide diagnostic exams and testing to identify patients who have or are at risk for heart disease so it can be treated in the earliest possible stages.

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute cardiac rehab experts focus on patients’ well-being before and after cardiac events—and helping patients understand their role in preventing illness or surgery. Depending on your condition, our cardiac rehab team can help get you back to your pre-condition health, or even better.

Our services incorporate education and action. We build our patients’ recovery plans on personalized cardiovascular testing. As they relearn daily activities, we provide individualized physical and psychological guidance, as well as support group access.

5. Dedication to research.

At MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, research is where innovation meets treatment. Research is a critical catalyst to excellence in clinical care. It pushes the envelope beyond today’s standards of care to develop better, faster ways to improve a patient’s outcome.

Because of our dedication to research, we have led the charge in many cardiac innovations, including:

  • LVADs
  • TAVR, a minimally invasive procedure to replace a faulty aortic heart valve
  • Treatment for complex, life-threatening conditions such as thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, which increase the risk of aortic rupture

We continually participate in clinical trials, and we develop new, customized devices, enabled by investigational device exemptions (IDEs). Through IDEs, we evaluate the safety and effectiveness of devices before they are cleared for widespread clinical use. Unlike the leaps and bounds made in the early 20th century, modern medical research gives us space to take steady, measured steps toward improving long-term patient outcomes.

Moreover, to effectively teach the best and brightest at our academic medical center, we must constantly assess the most current data and techniques, sharing that knowledge with our physicians, nurses and physicians in training.

Our commitment to you continues.

The rapid advancement and adoption of technology throughout the pandemic helped us pivot to patients’ needs more quickly. Wherever possible, we are both continuing and expanding our telehealth services, such as virtual rehabilitation consultations.

While many in-person appointments remain a necessity, virtual appointments allow our patients to consult with their provider from any location, on any device, saving the time and effort it takes to physically visit our center.

As COVID-19 cases creep up again, our providers remain ever-vigilant and on high alert. There is a great deal of fatigue right now—like finishing a marathon, then being told you have extra miles to run! But the silver lining through all of this has been an unparalleled sense of teamwork as we seek to meet challenges now and in the future.

As we continually refine and improve how we serve our patients, one thing will never change: When you come to the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, you get the region’s most experienced cardiovascular specialists who use the most advanced technology driven by leading-edge research, to provide exceptional care experiences.

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Category: Health Innovation     Tags: healthy heartheart careheart healthheart surgery