Heart disease treatments are growing exponentially and technology has evolved to make many treatments becoming minimally invasive achieving better outcomes and better quality of life for patients. World-wide evidence has shown that outcomes from cutting edge treatments are directly related to the expertise of a large team of highly trained super-specialists and this team is referred to as Heart Team. A virtual heart team was created in 2016 in India by a group of highly trained specialists and this team was called “HeartTeam India”. Many latest and advanced therapies are still at its early stages of adoption in India with limited experienced and trained teams.
HeartTeam India allows a highly specialised team to be contracted by any centre to deliver such therapies. HeartTeam India also allows medical technology companies to collaborate to deliver homogenous outcomes across the country through protocoled systems. This model was envisaged to deliver consistent positive/superior outcomes regardless of the experience of the centre at the same time training the specialists at that centre simultaneously. The net result would be consistent good outcomes for patients at the same time allowing structured training for specialists intending to adopt such therapies at their centre.
There are a number of carefully vetted specialists within HeartTeam India which include experienced Cardiac Structural Interventionists, Cardiac Surgeons, Cardiac Anaesthesiologists, Endovascular Interventionists, Intensivists and a whole range of paramedical crew including perfusionists, anaesthesia assistants, cath lab technicians and clinical specialists. To become a part of HeartTeam India, there is a strict set of criteria to substantiate one’s training, experience and heart team commitment. This large team is capable of delivering and dealing with any heart treatment, structural heart intervention, hybrid interventions (aortic), cardiac surgery and transcatheter valve therapy requirement in the country and also manage any peri-procedural complications. The team required for each case will be selected by HeartTeam India specialists based on patient profile, treatment required and centre experience and available skill set.
The specialists within HeartTeam India are highly experienced operators who are proctors for various therapies and who have experience with a wide variety of transcatheter and surgical technologies. The operators have published widely and have the experience of selecting the right patients and using the right technology and additionally they have the experience of performing a cost-effective procedure conducive to Indian healthcare model. The entire team are based in India. The team have access to a wide range of transcatheter and hybrid technologies in the world and all technologies currently available in India allowing the team to treat a wide range of patients requiring any complex cardiovascular therapies or structural heart intervention.
Once contacted by phone or email, a dedicated coordinator will collect the details of the patient, details of the available expertise at the referral centre and the facilities available within that centre. The coordinator will also connect the caller (doctor from the centre) to a HeartTeam India specialist to get more information. If the patient is lacking some essential tests, then those would be advised by HeartTeam India specialist. Once all the test results are available (Usually an echocardiogram and a gated cardiac CT), the information will then be used to conduct a Heart Team Discussion amongst HeartTeam India specialists. A decision will be made as to what treatment will be suitable for the patient and what technology will best serve the patient. The outcome will be communicated formally to the centre’s referring doctor along with a telephone discussion to clarify any concerns. The centre will also at that time be notified of the total cost of the procedure. Once agreed, then a date will be finalised by the centre’s doctor based on the clinical urgency. The operators of HeartTeam India will travel to that centre on the day before the procedure or several hours before the procedure to check that patient’s data is as expected and all pre-procedural precautions are taken. A quick survey of the facilities will also be assessed by HeartTeam India. The procedure will be performed by HeartTeam India specialists and based on centre’s experience the operators will stay the following day if needed and then leave after declaring patient’s safety and handing over to local team.
Alternatively, patients can refer themselves or can be referred by their physicians to HeartTeam India through telephone or email or through HeartTeam India website and can choose to have their treatment done at HeartTeam India’s chosen hospitals across the country which are highly sophisticated centres that have all protocols and facilities in place that have been designed and implemented by HeartTeam India specialists.