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The ASCVD Initiative

ascvd initiative

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or ASCVD is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States.  What makes this high disease burden particularly frustrating is that many of the important preconditions, like hypertension and hyperlipidemia, are often easy to identify and manage.

Conventional approaches to broad population care gaps often include layering more responsibility on primary care clinicians.  Given that primary care clinicians have high and increasing levels of burnout, improving population health may be better achieved by providing operational support so primary care clinicians can do less rather than financial incentives to encourage them to do more.

About the ASCVD Initiative

Given the health and economic benefits of reducing ASCVD risk and the challenges of achieving them by giving primary care clinicians more to do, we launched the ASCVD Risk Reduction Initiative in June 2021.  The ASCVD Risk Reduction Initiative is improving the ways that primary care clinicians help patients improve their heart health.  The Initiative is focused on patients with ASCVD or at higher risk of ASCVD.  

The Initiative is funded from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program through the Perelman School of Medicine Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.  The Initiative is also supported by funding from Penn Medicine.

Building a learning cycle

Since our launch in July 2021, we have built an active learning lab to run a series of strategically selected pilots to test components of the potential intervention.  Many of our pilot studies are nearing completion.  Results and lessons learned are informing the design of Penn Medicine Healthy Heart.  

Our flagship program

Over two years of development, we designed and implemented a centralized heart disease prevention program, called Penn Medicine Healthy Heart, with several key design principles:

  1. Use of technology to automate interaction and documentation
  2. Appropriate deployment of clinical and non-clinical staff to lower intervention cost
  3. Carefully designed clinical protocols vetted by health system clinical leaders
  4. Simplicity and ease of use for patients wherever possible
  5. Transparency of program interventions to primary care and specialist providers
  6. Use of behavioral science and motivational interviewing strategies to enhance engagement
Find publications and media coverage below: