I had the good fortune to recently participate in the 2013 Sanford Health Cardiovascular Symposium in Sioux Falls, SD. This is a good story that gets to the heart of health.
Sanford Health is the largest rural health care provider in the United States. In 2012, led by Dr. Tom Stys, the new Sanford Heart Hospital was opened with a team of leading cardiologists and specialists to provide advanced cardiac care, surgery, prevention, emergency and rehabilitation and the latest in technology.
The Cardiovascular Symposium was dedicated to exploring evidence-based and future directions in cardiac care. It was designed to enhance the knowledge and competence of health care professionals associated with the management of challenging aspects of heart disease. The attendees included physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, pharmacists and a variety of health care providers.
Major themes centered on factors to ensure optimal patient outcomes in interventional cardiology, the state of the art and future predictions for robotic coronary intervention surgery, and a review of the current data on heart disease in women.
But while we discussed some of the most advanced heart care in the country, we understood as attendees that for a patient it takes courage, connection and compassion to choose a path that leads to better heart health. In conversations, the contributory role of emotive storytelling and narrative communication to engage patients was recognized as essential to drive behavior change over the long term.
This is for the primary reason that heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in Americans, even though it is 80% preventable. Therefore healthy lifestyles, positive behaviors, technology, along with experts care can help protect against and prevent heart disease.
I was personally inspired how this passionate group of professionals strives to provide families dispersed across a vast rural geography with access to high-quality services they need to maintain a life of sound health and wellness. And because they believe services should be delivered as close to home as possible, Sanford is developing one of the most advanced telemedicine and telehealth systems in the country.
It was an impressive setting with extraordinary people united on a mission to improve the human condition through exceptional care, innovation and discovery.