Time for clear policies on use of heart stents

July 11, 2011

The recent article about the use of stents ("Few heart stents are unneeded, new study says," July 7) illustrates how physicians can use data to improve patient care. The Maryland Chapter of the American College of Cardiology believes additional policies are needed to further leverage data and clinical expertise to benefit patients.

We commend Maryland physicians and institutions who have taken aggressive steps in recent months to address patient concerns regarding inappropriate stent procedures. We ask them to work with us and Maryland health care officials to establish a clear, consistent policy to achieve this goal. Specifically, we support transparent, external peer review of physicians and institutions who perform stent procedures; accreditation of catheterization laboratories; and use of clinical data in combination with claims data to not only identify outliers, but to improve patient safety and quality of care.

Dr. Marc Mugmon, Baltimore

The writer is governor-elect of the Maryland Chapter of the American College of Cardiology

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