New dedicated cardiology unit brings enhanced and more connected care with a team approach
“Ascension St. Vincent’s East has long had a strong reputation of quality heart care,” cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Adam Witcher said. “We have a great cardiothoracic surgery program here, which Dr. John Thurber has been leading for the last several years. It’s special for me to come in at the beginning while we are building this dedicated cardiology unit and to watch this program continue to grow as we deliver leading heart care in the community.”
Using cutting-edge technology and delivering advanced, personalized heart care, cardiovascular specialists at Ascension St. Vincent’s have already been leading the way in minimally invasive procedures for treating coronary, carotid and peripheral vascular diseases.
The opening of the new dedicated cardiology unit at Ascension St. Vincent’s East means more advanced heart care options for the growing community.
“The greatest benefit of the new unit is that it will focus exclusively on the care needs of cardiology patients,” cardiologist Dr. Jason Thompson said.
Patients with heart failure or who need more advanced heart care treatment may need to be in the hospital for a few days. Nurses working in the new heart care unit will be focused on caring for patients with advanced heart care needs. This means more personalized heart care for our patients.
“We’re creating an environment with a close working relationship between nurse and physician,” said Dr. Thompson. “The result is not only happier nursing staff, but also nurses that are very educated on the disease we’re caring for.”
Our multidisciplinary team approach to heart care is also part of how this new unit will change heart care for local patients.
“The pace of medicine has gotten faster and faster, and we’ve realized that we need to enhance the patient experience, making it really an exceptional experience,” said Dr. Thompson.
Enhancing the patient experience means a team approach to care and connecting the dots for the patient.
“Medicine has become multidisciplinary,” Dr. Thompson said. “So I can take care of heart failure, but if we don’t have a nutritionist for the patient to talk to about a low-sodium diet, then we fail the patient. And in this new unit, doctors, nurse practitioners, and case managers come together as a team when we care for the patient. We do rounds together to see the patient.”
The entire care team works together with the patient. There is consistent communication across the team to care for the whole patient – including all aspects of physical and emotional health.
Dr. Witcher added, “As this program grows, we will have more nurses, more respiratory therapists, more pharmacists – everybody involved in the care of a cardiac surgery patient.”
Our team approach means we care for the whole patient and take time to answer their questions, whether it’s about medications, symptoms, next steps or treatments. Each conversation starts with listening to the patient’s concerns.
“It’s not enough to give a patient medicine, you have to take the time to explain to them why they’re taking the medicine,” Dr. Thompson said.
As we expand the care we deliver in east Birmingham and surrounding communities, patients choosing Ascension St. Vincent’s for heart care will continue to find the advanced heart care they need, from screenings and managing chronic heart conditions, to more advanced care and heart and vascular surgery. Cardiologists and surgeons at Ascension St. Vincent’s are trained in the latest heart care testing, treatment and procedures, specializing in diagnosing and treating aortic aneurysms, aortic valves and many other heart diseases. If you’re looking for a second opinion, our specialists can provide that for your diagnosis and care plan.
To start a conversation with a doctor today, schedule an appointment: ascension.org/StVincentsALheart.