Creating an Integrated Cardiac Team Program in Central Texas
It explains how they are building this new heart program, why, and what they hope to build. Located in Austin, the new institute plans to operate as a world-class integrated academic cardiac care system bringing together medical professionals, students and researchers. The institute will enable medical professionals to treat patients at every stage of life with existing services provided by the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease, also led by Fraser.
Fraser is Professor of Pediatrics and Surgery and Founding Chief of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery at the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease. He has a clinical affiliation between Dell Children’s Medical Center and UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Med.
The program treats patients with pediatric congenital heart conditions through adulthood. It is the first comprehensive, integrated cardiology program in Central Texas. The new institute will operate as an integrated university system of world-class cardiac care bringing together medical professionals, students and researchers.
Fraser said there have always been various cardiac subspecialties in the Austin area, but they often work in silos and refer patients to other specialists without much collaboration if they need help. help of an electrophysiologist or an interventional cardiologist. This new program will integrate subspecialties to ensure patients receive a continuum of care by a team rather than separate practitioners.
“We want to integrate critical care, anesthesiology, operating room nursing, infusion, outcome analysis, the administrative team and our education team,” Fraser said. “We have already started doing this at Dell Children’s Hospital and it creates a very robust environment. If you were to join our rounds tomorrow morning, you would find that our entire cardiac program was examining every patient in the hospital. That is new to my experience. I’ve been to some great places, but I’ve never been to a place where every patient is revered by the entire cardiology program. All team members have something valuable to bring to the proposal.
He said it also helps establish a foundation for understanding the continuum of care.
As a congenital heart surgeon, he said he sees a lot of patients when they are fetuses, sometimes as young as 21 weeks gestation. These patients need to be cared for by cardiologists for the rest of their lives, and he said it’s important to have a system that can make the transition between specialists seamless over the long term.
Fraser said the Austin, Texas area has seen explosive growth over the past decade and Ascension has built new facilities to meet the demand of new patients moving to the area. He said it made economic sense to create a large, integrated cardiology program now that the region is expanding with new growth. It will also help people get the care they need locally rather than being sent to large heart centers in Dallas and Houston.
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