Cardiac Medicine Pioneer

Leads the Innovative Expansion at
Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute

By Stephen Joseph Keeler

Barry T. Katzen,-M.D.

Barry T. Katzen,-M.D.

How can you tell that South Florida in general, and Miami in particular, is now considered a world-class metropolitan area, with global recognition as a most-desired destination?  When first-tier thought leaders and institutions look to enhance their presence here or establish one. And the latest evidence of South Florida’s powerful trajectory is the $100  million expansion of the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute led by Miami born and bred Barry T. Katzen, M.D., founder and Chief Medical Executive of the Institute. South Florida Opulence spoke with this busy physician to garner his insider’s view of the significance of this event.   “We at the Institute are thrilled,” said Dr. Katzen. “Miami has matured as a metropolitan area, with world-class education, events, sports and healthcare.  Now, we are taking healthcare to the next level. Baptist Health has grown into a high-quality healthcare delivery system.  We are bringing what we’ve learned and developed over the past 25 years to make a superlative facility with a unique pattern of care for the entire region.”

Curbing the Country’s Leading Killer
Heart disease and related cardiovascular diseases are the number-one killers in the nation, and what, with an aging population, promises to be an even greater threat to even more people. But not if Dr. Katzen and his colleagues can help it. “We’re taking a platform and building it to a national level.  It’s patient-centered care with high-touch, high-tech focus,” he explains.  “What we’re doing is expanding a hospital within a hospital, renovating 40,000 square feet and adding 40,000 additional square feet  to service the entire region.”

What’s especially unique about the Institute is the approach of using multidisciplinary teams of doctors. “More often than not, you’ve historically had specialists taking care of the same patient, but working in silos,” according to Dr. Katzen.  “You’d have doctors treating brain aneurysms in silos apart from those treating heart aneurysms. By bringing expertise from multiple areas, we pioneered new minimally invasive treatments.  We’ve broken down the silos to leverage best-in-class standards and practices, which is essential for improving outcomes.  We’re looking to change the way medicine is delivered, finding new ways of seeing inside the body, of learning how environments change and are changing.”

What’s New
The Institute is focusing on new programs, such as a National Center of Aneurysm Therapy and a Center for Structural Heart Therapy.  “These are sneaky diseases we are fighting, ones that provide with no prior indication of risk until big catastrophic surprises.  So we’re designing facilities for procedures that don’t yet exist.  And, we’re big into ‘big data.’ Analyzing data helps you understand need and trends; what’s really going on in the background, and helps indicate patterns of risk which guide us to make earlier and more accurate interventions.”  This focus will allow the Institute to design databases and methodologies for long-term outcomes, not just one event in the hospital.

Dr. Katzen explains further. “Looking at data helps to bring up standard of care, and improves patient satisfaction.  That is highest on the list. Bring all this infrastructure, learnings and knowledge to each patient, one patient at a time.  We then try to get feedback from our patients, whose input is vital to quality outcomes.  Many for example want to be first in leveraging new technologies for themselves, like a new mobile application for hypertension.”

Empowering Patients
“Our whole focus is on enabling patients and their caregivers.  Well-informed patients are the key to successful outcomes; most patients want knowledge, they want to be engaged in their care, and this is the key to better outcomes.”

The team aspect of patients with their providers plays a large component in improving both patient satisfaction and outcomes, he says. “70-75 percent of
information on the web is unfiltered; so we’ll be there to guide patients about what information is most relevant for their particular condition, with patient portals, digital and mobile health applications, social networking, and good old face-to-face encounters across the community.”

Dr. Katzen gives us a look into the future roadmaps of care.  “Changing the way patients are treated can include things like getting an aneurysm treated the same day; replacing aortic valves same day as an outpatient, procedures that offer patients alternatives to open heart surgery.  We may want to use robotics to insert catheters, and for more precise placement of stents, and install pacemakers the size of big pills into the heart, with no more cables.  New devices to treat the hardening of the arteries, more clinical trials, more research. It’s a big list,” he exclaims with the joy of a healer.

The Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute will be available everywhere in the Baptist service area, starting with the Baptist  Hospital facility, and then out to all five hospitals and 25 outpatient facilities. Everyone will have access to subspecialties, such as wellness and nutrition. Dr. Katzen looks to standardize protocols with the right expertise for uniform care delivery across the system, bringing innovation and expertise to all South Florida.  “The same care that drew the wife of Sir Richard Branson, husband of Celine Dion, and former Vice President Dick Cheney is available to everyone.”

And nobody is prouder of what this means for the area than this Miami native himself.  “I always looked at things differently, and saw, for example, that the catheter was not just a diagnostic tool, but could serve as a treatment vehicle.  So I pioneered using catheters to do things like break blood clots, opening and closing arteries, and delivering drugs.  Anything that can lead to more minimally invasive treatments is important to explore.  Look, if a pill could replace me as your doctor, I’d say go for the pill.  Whatever is best for the patient, we need to discover and deliver.”

Get ready, South Florida. You’re just about to get healthier.

Cardiac Medicine Pioneer