American Heart Association President Gordon Tomaselli, M.D. Praises Recommendations in IOM Report on Cardiovascular Surveillance

Washington, DC  (July 22, 2011) -The IOM Report on Cardiovascular Surveillance provides long-awaited recommendations for systematically tracking the prevalence and incidence of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. With a coordinated system, we can determine which strategies have the greatest impact in reducing the financial and health burden of cardiovascular disease. These recommendations will enable us to thread the labyrinth of data on heart disease and stroke and close critical gaps in the treatment and prevention of America's leading health threats.

Tracking progress on nationally recognized goals is crucial to improving quality of care, reducing health care costs and developing strategies to address health disparities. Enhanced use of data will also lay the groundwork for public policies and programs to reduce hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease in at-risk communities. 

The American Heart Association's goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020 is dependent on a system that can track progress in a coordinated fashion with timely access to data. To help meet these goals, the association has invested in and continues to promote widespread adoption of a full suite of quality improvement programs that expand beyond the concept of traditional registries. These programs utilize disease management and quality improvement tools aimed at improving patient care to ensure that heart disease and stroke treatment is based on the most recent evidence-based guidelines. Developed in collaboration with other health organizations, the programs build on the success of more than ten years of work in the association's Get With The Guidelines® (GWTG) initiative. GWTG has a well-documented and proven track record of improving patient care and outcomes, improving provider performance and eliminating disparity gaps. The programs include: Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke and Get With The Guidelines®-Heart Failure; Get With The Guidelines®-Resuscitation and The Guideline Advantage, ACTION Registry®-GWTGTM.

We applaud the report's recommendation for a National Working Group to oversee and coordinate cardiovascular and chronic pulmonary disease surveillance activity and look forward to contributing to the efforts of the work group as it builds a framework for a coordinated system. We also encourage the involvement of other public health organizations to help implement these IOM recommendations. A strong investment in the development of a national system will pay dividends with targeted strategies promoting high-quality patient care and prevention programs to build a healthier population and lower health care costs. To view the full report visit


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                (202) 785- 7929


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