Cath lab tech education during COVID-19 has been a challenge, but there’s a lot to be optimistic about says Ben Ochoa, Program Director for Invasive Cardiovascular Technology and Cardiac Sonography Programs at St. Phillips College and a fellow of the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals (FACVP).
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he managed not to miss a beat in fulfilling the cath lab and sonography tech workforce development needs of the San Antonio area. “We have to be safe in what we do—we have to meet these challenges,” said Ochoa. “So, we get creative.”
Following the February 20 CVP Week CE event Ochoa helped ACVP to organize, he spoke with us about ACVP, the state of cardiovascular programs in the pandemic, and the evolution he sees taking place in cardiovascular care in general.
“A lot has changed since the pandemic,” said Ochoa. “[COVID-19] tests the structures you have in place and forces you to evolve to meet those challenges… It forces us to rethink how we get this information to people—how we hold our students accountable—how to work within the limitations that we have and take care of students all at the same time.”
Realizing that digital learning was the key to helping students early on in the pandemic, Ochoa focused on finding great content resources and trimming the fat of the didactic process. “What do people really need to know?” he asked. “There’s so much redundancy that we face in how things were, so it forces us to be different... We’re really optimizing the use of technology. It trims the fat, right? But you still get the beef.”
ACVP cath lab tech education (applicable to all cardiovascular professionals) via our virtual CE festivals was an important resource, says Ochoa, along with education and online tutorials from industry partners and other groups. “ACVP, putting out all this education—we’ve been able to get content flowing to our students without missing a beat. The answers are out there, we have the resources.”
Sotalol delivered intravenously can offer a one-day regimen initiation for adults with atrial fibrillation, resulting in far shorter hospital stays and reducing hospital costs.
AltaThera Pharmaceuticals partnered with the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals to share information about their collaboration with the Federal Drug Administration to bring IV Sotalol back to the market and expand its use for this patient population.
In this blog, we offer a sneak-preview of AltaThera's presentation and an example of the excellent, cutting edge education offered by ACVP and our partners and volunteers.
3 Days to 1: Shorter Hospital Stays for Adults with A-Fib
Oral sotalol "has been available for over 25 years, and is the second most prescribed antiarrhythmic," says Rachael Durie, PharmD of AltaThera Pharmaceuticals. The drug is indicated for the maintenance of normal sinus rhythm in patients with highly symptomatic atrial fibrillation or flutter. Sotalol is one of only two class III antiarrhythmic drugs, along with Amiodarone, that are offered in both intravenous and oral formulations, and indicated for both atrial and ventricular arrhythmias.
"Where they differ is in their adverse effects," says Durie. "Amiodarone has such long-term toxicity... if the patient does experience toxicity, it could take almost six months for this to be washed out of the system, whereas all of the other oral agents have a half-life of about 12 hours and can easily be washed out in just three days."
But what's the benefit of delivering the antiarrhythmic sotalol via IV? Far shorter hospital stays for these patients, reducing necessary monitoring from three days to one.
A major drawback of the oral formulation is that patients should be initiated for a minimum of three days in a facility that can provide continuous EKG monitoring. "This is due to the pharmacokinetics of oral sotalol," says Durie, as she explains in her continuing education presentation which will air at 11:15AM Eastern on Saturday, September 26.
"Oral medications need to go through something called ADME: Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Elimination, and due to that, it takes five half-lives of the drug to reach the Cmax steady state."
This isn't the case with intravenous delivery of sotalol—pharmacokinetic data suggests that sotalol delivered via IV facilitates a one-day initiation of the regimen, which can be continued by the patient, orally, after discharge without three days of in-hospital monitoring.
The clinical and economic benefits are significant, and especially crucial during the on-going COVID-19 crisis, as Durie outlines in her presentation. "Any time you're reducing hospital length of stay, you're reducing the chance of infection—not just during COVID times." Plus, the cost savings are estimated at $3,000 per patient.
AltaThera Pharmaceuticals is a relatively new company focused on improving patient outcomes via this initiation protocol, which Durie explains in greater detail in her presentation. "This is our first and only product," says Durie. "So we are very committed to our company mission: to improve patient outcomes and reduce overall hospital costs."
There's still time to register for our 8 CEU virtual event!
RNs, RTs and all Cardiovascular Technologists (RCIS, RCES and all CCI credentialed professionals included) can earn 8 contact hours of continuing education by attending the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals' inaugural Virtual CE Festival Saturday, September 26. Register and attend complete sessions to earn credit—drop-in or drop-out on your schedule, from your home. Plus, pay what you think is fair.
Outstanding doctors and healthcare professionals from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Steward Health, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston, MA will present nine hours of cutting-edge cardiac continuing education from 8AM to 5PM ET on Saturday, September 26 in a livestream format. Access easily from anywhere—no downloads necessary. Chat with other attendees and presenters with LIVE, REAL-TIME Q&A throughout the presentations.
ACVP members, employees at Cleveland Clinic and Steward Health, and current students may all attend and earn CE, FREE!Others may attend for as little as $1!
We've communicated with our network previously about changing the format of our Fall regional meetings to be virtual. We're extremely excited to announce what that format will be: Virtual Cardiac CE Festivals which are accessible to all with pay-what-you-can pricing.
Our Novel 'Broadcast' Format
Two regional host institutions will combine their outstanding faculty to present at least six hours of continuing education sessions on the latest and greatest developments in cardiac care in a single, livestream broadcast, scheduled for Saturday mornings. Attendees will be able to drop in and out of sessions, earning CE credit for any sessions they attend in full and for which they complete evaluations.
This format allows us to bring the same benefits of our in-person regional meetings—a focus on the host institution's innovations, priorities and outstanding faculty and a concentrated, complimentary educational experience delivering a significant number of CE credits to host staff—to the virtual space, while also opening up opportunities for wider participation and networking between organizations and among all cardiovascular professionals.
Sessions will be recorded ahead of time to ensure a professional, uninterrupted experience, but presenters will be available, live, for question and answer throughout the presentation. Text Q&A will be displayed, live, as part of the broadcast, along with live surveys, interactive quizzes and even prize drawings for our live participants.
Free Registration Eligibility, or Pay What's Fair
Registration for our series of virtual cardiac CE festivals will be entirely free for ACVP members and team members from the host institutions whose faculty are leading our sessions. We ask that all others pay what's fair for this educational experience—to cover our application costs for educational credit and support our work in delivering quality, cutting-edge virtual cardiac CE to non-physicians in all cardiology specialties. But to encourage widespread participation from professionals in all stages of their careers, the minimum contribution is only $1 dollar.
Note: only ACVP members will be able to access continuing education sessions for credit following the live event. Contributing $45 dollars via our registration forms and attending any of these live events will entitle our guests to a complimentary YEAR of ACVP membership, an $85 dollar value! This holds for current and non-ACVP members alike.
As always, Registered Nurses (RNs), Radiologic Technologists (RTs) and cardiovascular technologists of all kinds—CVT, RCIS, RCES (and any other professionals credentialed by CCI)—will be eligible to receive continuing education credit. You must register and follow instructions before, during and after the sessions to receive your CE certificate.
Our First Virtual Cardiac CE Festival: September 26
Stay tuned for more updates from the Alliance as we confirm more dates and hosts as we strive to present a live broadcast event with at least 6 hours of virtual cardiac CE credits on a monthly basis, going forward.
If your institution may be interested in participating and presenting educational sessions for a future event, please reach out to our communications director, Kurt Jensen: firstname.lastname@example.org, to open the discussion. There is zero financial cost to our hosts.
On Thursday, June 25 at 12PM Eastern, we are excited to bring you the second in our series of free cardiac CE webinars! This webinar will be a live-streamed, remote expert panel discussion on 'the New Normal' in cardiac care following COVID-19 fallout, with our experts taking a more speculative look into the near and distant future.
Our panel features our truly outstanding line-up of non-physician administrators at the top of the field of cardiovascular care as well as the fantastic Dr. Seth Bilazarian, MD, Vice President of Clinical Education and Training at Abiomed.
Dr. Seth Bilazarian joined Abiomed in 2015 and leads the Medical Office’s Clinical Education and Training Programs in its mission to recover hearts and save lives, using the Impella platform of devices. He practiced clinical and interventional cardiology in the cath lab for 23 years before joining Abiomed where he collaborates with interventional cardiology and heart failure specialists to develop best practices for use of the Impella platform in Protected PCI and Cardiogenic Shock, and physician investigators in pre-clinical and clinical research in ventricular unloading.
Access instructions for our free cardiac CE webinars:
As we'll be on YouTube, you'll be able to view the webinar on your phone, desktop, or even your Smart TVs—but in order to participate in the stream chat, you should access the webinar from a desktop or laptop computer.
The live webinar will be eligible for 1 contact hour of continuing education credit recognized by ACVP's CaPCE accreditation program for all cardiovascular technologists, sonographers and registered nurses, as well as the Association of Vascular and Interventional Radiographers, an ARRT-recognized CE evaluator (RCEEM+), for radiologic technologists.
In the first expert panel discussion of our free cardiac ce webinars series, on June 4, 2020 our panelists discussed how their organizations are contending with the Covid-19 pandemic. We explored the immediate impact that Covid-19 has had on organizations in terms of staff retention and restructuring, new care delivery processes in the wake of Covid-19, information sharing within and between institutions, permutations of “trust” in the time of a pandemic, employee emotional responses to increased stress and accelerated changes, and many more topics relevant to how Covid-19 continues to change the way we work.