Aging cardiac patients often have multiple co-morbidities, the management of which may lie outside of the expertise of the cardiologist on service. Consultations from other specialties during a cardiac patient’s time on the ward can lead to longer hospital stays, a high inpatient workload for cardiologists, and a limited availability of cardiologists to provide consultations to patients under the care of other specialties. Further, the high volume of inpatient work decreases a cardiologist’s availability for outpatient consultations, resulting in increased wait times and a higher chance of adverse events or hospitalization.
Dr. Brian McArdle saw this challenge as an opportunity to bring together the Division of General Internal Medicine (GIM), the Division of Cardiology, and the Internal Medicine Clinical Teaching Unit. When discussing his initial idea of integrating GIM physicians in the care of cardiology patients admitted to hospital, alternate solutions presented themselves:
- Internal Medicine/CTU took on admissions for patients presenting to the emergency department with acute cardiac problems that did not require admission to the coronary care unit.
- That team also took over eight monitored beds on the cardiology ward for use by acutely unwell medical patients that require continuous cardiac monitoring.
These changes have allowed GIM physicians the opportunity to provide better care to complex patients, leading to improved health outcomes. Additionally, cardiologists are now more available to provide in-house consultation services as well as more timely access in community for patients to EP, interventional, and ECHO services.
Thanks to Dr. Mc Ardle and his team, cardiac patients with co-morbidities can now access a greater efficiency of care using effective treatment methods, by well-aligned specialist physicians.