Are you paid enough?

CVTs, RNs report higher wages in 2017

A national survey of cardiovascular professionals in Cath, EP and combo labs showed strong wage growth for Cardiovascular Technologists and Registered Nurses from 2015 to 2017.

National average hourly wages reported by CVTs and RNs grew significantly—from $30.81 to $33.16 and from $36.64 to $39.57, respectively—while average wages for Radiologic Technologists regressed from their 2015 highs—from $36.13 to $34.61—according to the 2017 CATH/IR/EP Wage Survey presented by SpringBoard Healthcare.

"While each licensure all had moderate wage growth between 2011 and 2013, in 2015 the trends of the different licensures diverged," reads the SpringBoard report. "RNs and CVTs actually decreased in 2015, while RTs had very strong growth (almost 6%); however, in 2017 that trend reversed as RNs and CVTs had extremely strong growth (almost 10%) while RT compensation decreased."

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Over the period SpringBoard has surveyed wage trends for Cath/IR/EP professionals—2011 to 2017—CVTs have shown the strongest wage growth "by a large margin" compared to RNs and RTs in the West, Northeast and South regions.

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Two common ways you might misinterpret medical research

Sophisticated statistics in medical research can be hard to translate to layman's terms, and when they are, these common misinterpretations can be downright misleading.

1. Odds ratios don't express relative risk.

In 1999, media reports resulting from a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine wrongly suggested that black patients and women were 40 percent less likely than white patients and men, respectively, to undergo cardiac catheterization.

The study's authors had used odds ratios to describe the significance of their findings—a common practice among statistically sophisticated researchers—which showed that black patients and women were definitely less likely to be referred for invasive procedures than white patients and men, but not how much less likely.

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Routine Cardiac Catheterization Expanding to Saturdays?

Expanding availability of elective, non-emergent cardiac catheterization services to Saturdays might significantly reduce length of stay, with no effect on clinical quality reports a recent economic impact study.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Managed Care found that reduced length of stay did not result in total cost savings, however.

In January 2009, Mayo Clinic Rochester expanded cardiac catheterization service availability (CSA) to Saturdays with the "goal of timely access with improved efficiency of care," write the authors.

Despite succeeding in greatly reducing length of stay—a statistically significant, adjusted average of 1.73 days—total costs of care were similar prior to CSA expansion.

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One simple procedural change reduces mortality in the cath lab

An international study published mid-March in the Lancet showed that using the wrist as an access point for heart catheterization reduced bleeding and lowered mortality rates as opposed to using the groin as an access point.

While previous studies have demonstrated that wrist access reduces incidents of bleeding, this is the first to demonstrate the connection with incidents of mortality.

The change lowers mortality at no additional cost beyond necessary additional training and expertise---insertion through the wrist is more technically demanding than insertion through the groin, as the artery is smaller.