A Focus on Prevention

Perth Cardiovascular Institute

Perth Cardiovascular Institute was first established by a group of doctors who were working in a public hospital and wanted to have a separate facility in which to see their private patients. The institute gradually grew as other cardiologists joined the group. The institute boasts one of the original cardiovascular departments and was started roughly fourteen years ago.

Chief Executive Officer Reza Barzegari, who joined the institute about four years ago and brings a background in business management with multinational pharmaceutical companies, says, “We came up with a vision, what we wanted to stand for and what we wanted to do. We came up with a five year plan based on how we were going to get there and what we were going to focus on. So, at that time, we put together a pretty vigorous plan for growth expansion.” The institute built up a solid team of experts, not just in cardiology, but in complementary facets of medicine.

Business Development Manager, Sye Hughes, has been with the company for roughly three and a half years and has a similar business background to Reza’s. He has taken on the substantial task of marketing, branding and developing a promotional organisation for PCI’s clients and referrers.

All successful companies need to expand and grow to stay on top in their market and Sye Hughes says that PCI is no exception. The company had an opportunity to expand in the northern part of Perth on the Joondalup Health Campus which is a large institution having both public and private healthcare in the one shared facility.

PCI set up practice there and has provided both cardiology and cardiac testing services to the hospital since 2010, explains Sye. “We can take opportunities like this one, apply an outstanding model of patient care and establish good long standing relationships.”

“The facility itself has not only a great environment for our patients but also a great environment for our staff,” Reza says. “We have a team approach to a task and we have created a bond. Some people have come with no experience at all and we have an excellent training programme in place to ensure that all staff are well equipped to handle their area of expertise. There are several different performance training levels. Each staff member goes through with extensive training provided internally as well as externally. We want to ensure that everyone working with us is at the top of their game.”

He adds that it is also important to begin with the best people for the team. “Our company vision is to have the best team providing the best care for patients. We do this at the interviewing level, and at the advertising level when we recruit for team members. When we take on staff and additional cardiologists, this is the focus that we try to maintain.”

Perth Cardiovascular Institute has recently acquired some new equipment to keep up with the ever changing demands of modern technology. Reza elaborates: “We have some new software, IT equipment as well as ultrasound machines, clinical equipment and everything required to form the testing side of our business. We now have an outstanding link to any of our clinical practises in all our seven sites. This link maintains our security and patient growth from one site to another. This is very important as some of our doctors see patients at one site and they might get their results from another site, with a follow up at possibly yet another site.”

The system is well integrated so it minimises any errors in patient information. “Our doctors and cardiologists can access and analyse patient records from wherever they may be, anywhere in the world.”

When a patient has a heart attack there is a small and critical window to get them to a hospital and while the institute’s software should help with keeping data current, Reza believes that data sent in real time could lead to even quicker follow up. “The patients need to be able to be actively involved in their health management. I think the market is moving towards real time issue resolve. There are devices that are out of the trial phase that can capture critical information which can be transmitted to a doctor for real time results.”

Perth Cardiovascular Institute likes to embrace a “One Stop Shop” approach for cardiovascular health services. Sye says this came from offering the most diverse range of clinical experiences for patients. “Whether it is a basic cardiac test or visiting a cardiologist and getting an expert opinion, all the way up to procedural based cardiology where you may require intervention to prevent heart attacks or other serious illnesses – we can generally cover all aspects. They can trust that we will look after whatever cardiovascular need is required, all at the same facility.”

Reza adds, “If a patient comes in pretty anxious about their cardiovascular issues we provide a very holistic approach to their health that starts with offering basic tests that may require follow up from an expert cardiologist”.

A very significant accomplishment recently occurred at the Perth Cardiovascular Institute and Sye explains this Australian first. “One of our interventional cardiologists, Dr Sharad Shetty has just been involved in a first-in-man trial in the field of renal denervation (the interruption of the nerve connection in the kidneys) for the treatment of resistant hypertension or persistent high blood pressure. He was specifically involved in the development of what is called the Tivus device.” This is an ultrasound catheter device used in the procedure of renal denervation. Increased renal sympathetic nerve activity has been found to play a significant role in the mechanism of hypertension and renal denervation shows excellent promise as a treatment.

“With this particular procedure there is a specifically outlined criteria that one individual has to meet before they will be eligible for being enrolled in the trial for this. I think that with most cardiovascular related health issues, there are a lot more elements than just high blood pressure, which is why a likely candidate would be referred to a cardiologist so they can investigate any underlying issues as well.”

Perth Cardiovascular Institute primarily focuses on preventative measures. Reza explains that a lot of things can be done less invasively. “We focus on the preventative measures to be taken. Doing preliminary tests like echocardiograms allow our cardiologists to recommend preventative treatment before the patient suffers from a heart attack which of course not only affects your heart but your entire life.” Although PCI has no direct affiliation with The Heart Foundation, it does work closely to promote heart health awareness and informational literature is provided to once again encourage prevention.

The future of cardiovascular engineering lies in the preventative stages, Reza says. “Where we are now is preventative and we would like to grow in that area.

“I think if we are known for having the patient’s best outcome in mind at all times – and that comes with having the best people and providing the best care for patients – we can be constantly focusing on preventative care for all patients.”

Stem Cells

The scientific study of stem cells has existed for a long time and has already contributed greatly to modern medicine. As scientific inquiry continues to advance and as discoveries gain more traction and acceptance in the scientific and medical communities, the true breadth and potential of this area of study can start to be realized.

July 20, 2018, 12:54 PM AEST

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