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Helping Patients Manage the COVID-19 Pandemic

CardioSmart News

In times of crisis, teams pull together. The American College of Cardiology responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by building the go-to source for the latest clinical and operational guidance and practice updates. At the same time, the CardioSmart team focused on ways to support the College's response for patients.

In lockstep with the publication of the ACC's clinical bulletin that offered guidance about the coronavirus and treating patients with heart conditions, CardioSmart published a patient summary on March 13, 2020, that received more than 73,000 unique page views in the first week. Another summary of a joint statement urging patients to stay on their blood pressure and heart failure medications soon followed. These summaries translated clinical guidance for patients and helped address their concerns without getting ahead of the science. 

On April 3, 2020, Martha Gulati, CardioSmart's Editor-in-Chief, spoke at a Mended Hearts webinar "COVID-19 and the Cardiac Patient." In addition to general information about the disease, she gave practical tips on how to manage heart health during the pandemic.

Responding to ACC member concerns about patients delaying care

Then, in response to ACC member concerns about an alarming drop in patients with heart attacks going to emergency departments, CardioSmart quickly published the infographic “Don't Ignore Heart Symptoms” on April 14, 2020. A process that normally takes a month was reduced to a few days. To help get the word out and promote use of the infographic, ACC followed up with a news release and a rare all-member email to let clinicians know about this message.

After two weeks, the infographic had been downloaded more than 2,400 times – faster than any other CardioSmart infographic. By the end of the year, it had been downloaded 4,400 times. Attention for the infographic was global, with requests for translations into Spanish, Portuguese (versions for Portugal and Brazil) and Italian.

Listening to unique concerns of heart patients

On May 28, ACC held a virtual patient forum "Managing Heart Disease Amid COVID-19." During the meeting, individuals shared their experiences about living with heart disease and the threat of COVID-19.

Patients shared how their fears of contracting COVID-19 in the hospital made them hesitate before seeking care. They also talked about the toll not seeing family and friends – and trusted care team members – took on their emotional well-being.

Insights from the patient forum helped inform the messaging for ACC's fall statement on COVID-19. When ACC released the fall message, CardioSmart at the same time published a supporting infographic and fact sheet.

Staying relevant with COVID-19 vaccine efforts

This year, CardioSmart has continued to support clinician messaging with information for patients. When ACC released its health policy statement on vaccine distribution Feb. 12, CardioSmart summarized the policy for patients and updated its COVID-19 vaccine Q&A page to help answer questions that patients might have. 

In the month since the summary was posted (Feb. 12-March 16), the article was viewed more than 5,000 times. And for the month of March, unique pageviews for the article exceeded the homepage – typically the site’s most viewed webpage.

Scientific research, especially on how to treat COVID-19, is evolving rapidly. Patients today often confront an overload of information. Providing unified messaging when it’s relevant and needed helps cut through the noise while supporting informed discussions between patients and their clinicians.

ACC is staying focused, disciplined and agile working toward its mission to transform cardiovascular care. That extends to all branches of the College, and CardioSmart’s COVID-19 response is just one example of that in practice. 


CardioSmart quickly responded to concerns from cardiovascular clinicians and patients.


Learn about CardioSmart's editorial process. Information provided for educational purposes only. Please talk to your health care professional about your specific needs.