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Harold Calls for Year of Innovation as ACC President

March 10, 2013

John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, will assume the ACC presidency during Convocation on the evening of March 11, 2013. He shared his vision for the College over the next year in an interview with CardioSourceNews.

Look for more details on Harold's background, goals and mission in the spring issue of Cardiology magazine this May.

What attracted you to leadership positions at the ACC, particularly the presidency?
My association with the College began over 30 years ago during my medical residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. While training, I worked with ACC past president and founding editor of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Simon Dack, MD, who inspired me to enter formal cardiology training and introduced me to the College. I attended my first ACC meeting in 1982 as a third-year medical resident. My cardiology fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center further introduced me to cardiovascular icons like Jeremy Swan, MD; William Ganz, MD; and Eliot Corday, MD. These physicians mentored me through my formative years as a cardiovascular professional and inspired me to become more active in the ACC. They are why I am here today.

What are some of your goals for the College during your presidential year?
The theme of my presidential year is "innovation in technology and education." Additionally, I plan to focus on expanding the diversity of membership, furthering our global reach and facilitating connections and collaborations with like-minded societies.

One of the focuses of your presidency is on digital strategy. What does that mean to you?
Cloud computing, smart phones, and an increasing number of tools and applications have put knowledge sharing and information gathering at our fingertips. As such, I feel that the College needs to reassert itself as a technology innovator and embrace a new strategic digital vision focused on member value and mobility access at the point of care. As the ACC's overarching digital strategy is implemented in the coming years, the mobile and digital tools will only increase.

What are some of the biggest challenges you see facing the field of cardiology?
The assault on the private practice of cardiology and the financial pressures associated with declining reimbursements and rising operational costs has resulted in a migration towards hospital integration and direct employment by hospitals. The viability of private practice cardiology has been called into question. Health care delivery in its current state does not work and we need to align payment incentives around improved quality and improved efficiency, rather than payment incentives for more volume of services.

Are there ways you think the ACC can better help meet these challenges and help both patients and CV professionals?
The College can play a major role in developing models that will enhance coordination among all physicians in hospitals while maintaining the trust-based relationships already established between cardiologists and their patients. ACC tools and resources can help practices evaluate the many factors that must be considered in order to make the best decisions that preserve the prism on the patient. Enhancing the lives of patients is at the core of the College's mission and the ACC is also working to cultivate leaders who can continue to make significant contributions to delivery of quality patient care.

What advice do you have for future leaders of the College?
There are tremendous opportunities for the College to reach cardiovascular professionals and patients around the world faster and more effectively than we could have ever dreamed. We need to mentor the next generation of leaders who will function in this digital era.

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