For four years, we worked with Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) to enhance and integrate cardiology, cardiac surgery and vascular surgery services, laying the foundation  for a comprehensive cardiovascular center of excellence. For the next two years, we built on these achievements as we created the Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI) at JHAH.

Our goal for the second phase of collaboration was to maintain the progress we made in each area of clinical care, while creating an even more integrated approach to heart and vascular services.

When the HVI program concluded earlier this year, we realized additional successes in introducing new approaches for delivering care and adopting advanced technologies and treatments to benefit cardiovascular patients at JHAH:AJAHJHAH

Increased Nonsurgical Options
We worked with JHAH to start a vascular medicine program to expand preventive care and nonsurgical treatment alternatives. One of JHAH’s staff cardiology physicians spent a month at our noninvasive vascular laboratory and helped interpret 500 patient cases to gain the fundamental knowledge and clinical skills for making reliable diagnoses in vascular disease. Consequently, he earned approval to sit for the Registered Vascular Physician Interpretation exam. We view this as a highly successful program not only for expanding the care of patients with peripheral vascular disease, but also for providing professional development for JHAH.

Improved Data Baseline
JHAH launched the Society for Thoracic Surgery’s database, a clinical outcomes registry for cardiac and thoracic surgery that health systems can use to benchmark their progress against aggregate data from hospitals worldwide. JHAH administrators can examine these data to develop quality and safety improvements to continue to enhance patient care, and its researchers can access this information as a reliable and easily accessible tool for clinical investigations. 

Streamlined Patient Journeys
JHAH established a nurse triage function that ensures new patients arrive at their first clinic appointment with all records and completed testing, which allows JHAH physicians to conduct a comprehensive evaluation and determine the best treatment plan on first visit. Not only does this improve timely access to care, it also reduces the cost of that care and frees up time in the clinic for other patients to receive treatment.

Advanced AFib Options
We worked together closely with JHAH to introduce the most advanced electrophysiology procedures to diagnose and treat abnormal heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation (AFib). JHAH became the first ― and is still the only ― hospital in the Eastern Province to offer AFib ablations. More recently, JHAH has begun to treat arrhythmic patients by implanting the Watchman device, a minimally invasive, one-time procedure to treat AFib and reduce the risk of stroke.

Embraced New Techniques
We worked with JHAH to unite clinicians in cardiology and cardiac and vascular surgery to develop a highly integrated transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program in August 2019. Once reserved for very high-risk surgical candidates, TAVR is now an essential procedure for all patients in a comprehensive heart center such as at JHAH.

Optimal heart and vascular health care requires interconnectivity between cardiology, cardiac surgery and vascular surgery, and many other clinical and administrative areas. Thanks to our collaboration, JHAH is now strategically poised to provide a continuum of progressive care ― from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and recovery ― through its distinguished team of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, vascular and endovascular surgeons, nurses and other key clinical staff.

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