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Katherine Abraham Evans: Empowering Patients With Value-Based Cardiology Care

Katherine Abraham Evans
Katherine Abraham Evans

A healthy heart equals a healthy life. As a society, we are living far away from this motto.In the United States, there is a heart attack every 40 seconds, which equates to 805,000 people annually. Our healthcare system needs innovative tools to help patients avoid major cardiovascular events by providing care that is easily accessible and affordable.

Considering the severity of cardiovascular illness in our country, implementing new models of care is critical. Katherine Abraham Evans, the Chief Nursing Officer has decades of experience caring for heart failure patients. After working in a variety of different care settings, she understands value-based care must involve preventing hospitalizations, nurturing care team relationships, and developing trust. To meet this need, she launched an innovative heart failure program at Novocardia (a value-based cardiovascular disease platform)—combining individualized health coaching and remote patient monitoring—to improve the lives of heart failure patients, focus on proactive and preventive care, and decrease the need for hospitalizations.

Through this innovative program, Dr. Evans has empowered patients seeking cardiology care by reducing their financial healthcare burden (as the program decreases costs by avoiding ER and hospital visits) and building stronger care team relationships,leading to better health for patients with heart failure.

Let’s dive in to read more about Dr. Evans innovative heart failure program empowering patients with value-based cardiology care.

Inspiration Behind

Dr. Evans’s inspiration to venture into the healthcare sector comes from her grandparents. She has always enjoyed spending time with older adults, in particular with her grandparents. However, she has seen the struggles that they had when venturing through the healthcare system and that drew her to nursing. “It is extremely difficult to be a patient and I wanted to find ways to improve the healthcare experience,” says Dr. Evans.

Climbing the Ladder

Dr. Evans began her nursing career in intensive care and cardiology. Her first job as a nurse practitioner was working for a private cardiology practice. From there, she transitioned to value-based care delivery with Optum for ten years. During that time she also served as the Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Georgia State University.

Then she moved to the health plan side of health care with UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions where she served as Chief Nursing Officer. She joined Novocardia with a unique breadth of experience in healthcare, understanding the needs of patients, payers and value-based care delivery. Using this knowledge, she worked with her team to create a novel heart failure program, a hypertension program, as well as a care delivery model in value-based cardiology arrangements. Her goals are always aligned with patients at the forefront to ensure an improved experience with the highest quality care.

Key Services at Novocardia

At Novocardia, the goal is to always provide the highest quality of care to any patient who is seen by the staff. This is reflected in the company’s core values, mission, and vision which are as follows:

  • Core values: Connectedness, resilience, integrity, visionary, joyfulness.
  • Mission: Transforming the delivery of cardiovascular care for all.
  • Vision: To be the national cardiovascular network of choice for high-quality, high-value care.

Dr. Evans ensures this care objective is met across the spectrum from the front desk staff greeting patients, the clinical staff and all team members who work to improve the patient’s care.

“We have enabled new and innovative programs to bring value-based care upstream. This includes our flagship heart failure program which is a nurse practitioner-led model involving a multidisciplinary team for patients with chronic heart failure. The team delivers care in person, virtually and receives data from remote patient monitoring devices,” highlights Katherine. This program allows staff to identify exacerbations early so patients are readily treated on an outpatient basis, avoiding hospitalization. The patients are also provided with intensive education to ensure that they can manage and understand how to remain healthy. With this program, patients have seen huge success by feeling more empowered and staying healthier.

Leaning Towards Patient Empowerment

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Several critical areas call for attention: prevention, gender disparities and social determinants of health. When it comes to women, they often do not realize their risks for cardiovascular disease and many times symptoms present in non-specific ways. For example, symptoms of a heart attack in a female may be nausea and stomach pain. Women may dismiss these symptoms, when in fact they need to seek treatment. “The goals of our programs are to empower patients with the knowledge to manage their disease process and seek care when necessary,” adds Dr. Evans

Leveraging Technological Advances

Technology creates many new opportunities to bring continuity of care to patients in a convenient fashion. “Technology is critical to our programs and many of our programs are a virtual first approach. We utilize telehealth and remote patient monitoring devices to make care accessible. At the same time, there is no replacement for face-to-face provider interaction. Our programs find the balance between the convenience and access of technology and the in-person provider relationship,” adds Dr. Evans.

Role of Connectedness in Patient Care

Connectedness is one of the core values at Novocardia values. And this permeates throughout all interactions within the organization from employees to patients. “We ensure everything we do considers the patient, their family and their experience with our teams,” says Dr. Evans.

Current Endeavours

The care practices at Novocardia have incredibly high NPS scores demonstrating that patients are very satisfied with the care that they receive. “We continue striving to increase those scores through improved patient access opportunities with our clinical programs and technology advancements,” adds Dr. Evans. She aims to meet patients where they are on their healthcare journey providing personalized approaches to access.

The Challenge to Balance the Nursing Profession with Patient Care Delivery

“Our country is suffering from one of the largest nursing shortages in recent history and it continues to worsen. Nurses are enduring  burnout and  need new models of care that support the nursing profession as and improve  patient care delivery,” highlights Dr. Evans.

She continues, “Finding the balance of supporting our nursing teams and delivering excellent care can be challenging but is critical work to the future of our workforce. Listening to our nurses, hearing their concerns and keeping their needs at the forefront of decisions is imperative.”

Words of Wisdom

To budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who desire to venture into the field of nursing, Dr. Evans advises, “There are infinite opportunities to improve patient care. Find the one that excites you and where you know you can make a difference.”

Looking Ahead

Dr. Evans sees an incredible opportunity to create value in cardiology through value-based models. This includes improving the care of heart failure patients, helping patients prevent new coronary disease and overarchingly improving access to high-quality cardiovascular care. “Our models are uniquely designed to scale and care for large populations. We will bring the best cardiology value models to patients nationally through a hybrid model of virtual and in-person care,” she concludes.

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