To enhance the delivery of patient-centered cardiovascular care across its 21-hospital network, Northwell Health announced the creation of the Northwell Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) with a special focus on streamlining patient care, standardizing care delivery, research, and medical education across the health system.
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. As a leader in cardiovascular disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, Northwell is dedicated to elevating heart health among New Yorkers. This commitment is demonstrated through its world-renowned cardiac care teams, comprehensive programs and exceptional clinical outcomes.
Under the leadership of its co-executive directors, Alan Hartman, MD, senior vice president and executive director of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Northwell Health, and Jeffrey Kuvin, MD, senior vice president and chair of cardiology at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital, the CVI looks to redefine collaboration across medical, hybrid, structural and surgical specialties. This holistic approach is designed to benefit patients by seamlessly integrating various facets of cardiovascular care.
“We formally put a name to something which has occurred at Northwell for some time,” said Dr. Hartman. “And that is the integration of cardiovascular services for the entire health system from Manhattan to the East End of Long Island, from Westchester to Staten Island and from the North Shore of Long Island to the South Shore of Long Island. All of our hospitals, as well as our ambulatory sites have a unified vision and delivery care model to serve the greater New York area and all of Long Island.”
Echoing that sentiment, Dr. Kuvin said, “This a very exciting time for Northwell. The mission of the Northwell CVI is to create accessible, inclusive and innovative care delivery system with a focus on the cardiovascular patient and care team. The CVI will allow us to capitalize on our system strengths in patient care, research, teaching and innovation.”
Under the administrative leadership of Jason Lightbody, MBA, PAC, the Cardiovascular Institute mission is guided by five core principles:
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Fostering a healthcare environment that is inclusive and equitable.
Education and Training: Advancing the academic mission by promoting education and training in cardiovascular care.
Engagement and Philanthropy: Encouraging community engagement and philanthropic efforts to support cardiovascular care initiatives.
Quality and Standards: Upholding high standards of patient care and quality in cardiovascular services.
Research and Innovation: Promoting innovation and research to continually improve cardiovascular care.
This strategic shift and significant milestone underscore Northwell Health’s commitment to the advancement of cardiovascular care, the academic mission and simplifying the patient experience.
A network of support
Despite the health system’s large footprint, Northwell’s clinical comradery has become more cohesive in cross-functional teams. Northwell’s investment in virtual systems brought patients and providers closer together. Platforms like Microsoft Teams, Teledoc and Collaboration Live have increased access for patients with limited transportation options and allow providers to consult peer-to-peer on complex cases in real time. During the COVID pandemic, Northwell developed a robust telemedicine platform for its Centralized Transfer Center through its Center for Emergency Medicine.
Changes in state regulation have also added services at the community level. Recently, community hospitals like Northern Westchester, Peconic and Plainview have brought lifesaving care closer to home by opening advanced cardiac catheterization labs, providing angioplasty and cardiac stenting for patients with heart disease. These centers can also provide emergency supportive therapies to stabilize patients so they can be safely transferred to transplant and advanced level centers via ambulance or by Northwell’s medical air transport, SkyHealth.
“With any emergency, time is of the essence,” stressed Dr. Kuvin. “When it comes to the heart, time is heart muscle. The sooner a patient gets to a cardiac center, the better the person’s chance of overall survival. Northwell truly understands how to use a large system of care to benefit all patients.”
Centering on excellence
The care of cardiac patients has changed considerably over the past few decades. To address this, the CVI will bring together multi-disciplinary teams to work collaboratively to coordinate patient care across eight clinical centers of excellence:
• Center for Arrhythmias
• Center for Atherosclerosis
• Center for Heart and Lung Failure
• Center for Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Disease
• Center for Prevention and Wellness
• Center for Valvular Disease
• Center for Vascular Disease
• Center for Women’s Heart Health
This model of care will better align cardiovascular patients and care teams and will foster a unified, cohesive system that addresses health disparities and engages communities.
The CVIs approach is poised to improve clinical outcomes and enhance both patient and provider experiences. It solidifies Northwell Health as the premier destination for heart care, leveraging system-wide strengths in research and training, and showcasing outstanding faculty and programs.
“Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer in America and certainly the number one killer in our region,” Dr. Hartman said. “So, from that perspective, having an institute in cardiovascular disease is really an epidemiologic imperative. I think you can call yourself an institute, but actually becoming one, that is worthy of the name is a different story. I’m confident that we’ll be able to do it. I think we have the right priorities and the right vision to accomplish that.”