During this challenging era of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have come together even more as a Fellowship, Cardiology Section, and a Health System. Within Cardiology, we have worked as a group to safely and creatively continue our mission of high-quality patient care, education, research productivity, and other academic endeavors, while prioritizing wellness and self-care. The Cardiology Fellowship and Section have always fostered an environment of support and camaraderie. These true colors are evident as we continue to support each other and prioritize wellness during the pandemic. Temple University Hospital has separately allocated a distinct building (a ‘hospital within the hospital’) to isolate COVID-19 confirmed or suspected patients, thus limiting contact and risk of exposure by our Cardiology Fellows. Below are some additional specific regarding Temple Cardiology’s COVID-19 response:
Fellows Conferences: We have continued, without interruption, our fellows teaching conferences. Faculty are participating more than ever to provide didactic and case-based presentation on a daily basis, sometimes even twice a day. We have continued our Journal Club tradition, including staying up-to-date regarding COVID-related Cardiovascular experiences in the literature. These have converted to a virtual format with allowance for screen sharing, interactive discussions, and Q&A.
Virtual Inpatient: Since March 2020, Temple Cardiology implemented a model to minimize COVID19 transmission risk, allowing our Fellows to evaluate primary patient data and supplement inpatient care using a virtual interface with admitted patients using iPhone and iPad technology remotely. This has limited time spent at the bedside without limiting direct communication and interaction with patients and colleagues. This model has been adopted by other GME programs and Departments throughout the Temple Health System and other hospitals throughout the Philadelphia region.
Advances in Cardiology Information-Technology: To support the ability to comprehensively provide remote care when able, all of our fellows have web-based access to primary cardiac data review. This includes remote access to inpatient telemetry, echocardiography, angiography, hemodynamic waveform review, and radiology images. We are very fortunate to have Chethan Gangireddy, MD as a Temple Informatics & EPIC Lead within Cardiology to advocate for this aspect of our Fellows’ needs within the health system.
PPE: Temple University Hospital and our Leadership within Cardiology and the Fellowships have prioritized available for PPE for all of our fellows and staff. This includes consistently masking patients, N95/KN95, surgical mask, gloves, gown, face shields, and eye protection as appropriate for our procedures and all patient encounters.
Virtual Outpatient Cardiology Telemedicine: Fellows have been able to continue their continuity clinic experience using telemedicine using audio/video support and faculty mentorship.
Research: Temple Cardiology has been at the forefront of research related to the COVID19 pandemic experience. Many of our fellows have been deeply involved in these endeavors from the beginning, including topics related to: biomarkers, cardiovascular risk prediction, arrhythmias, patient satisfaction, invasive cardiac procedures, Emergency Department presentations, and more (this list continues to grow!). Our fellows have historically, even prior to COVID-19, maintained active research productivity throughout their training. This regularly includes presentations at national and international symposia such as ACC, AHA, HFSA, HRS, ISHLT, CHEST, ATS, ASE, SCAI, and more. Our faculty across Cardiology have a wide range of clinical research interests, including grant-funded and protected time, offering a multitude of mentoring options for our Fellows.
Education: Our Temple Lewis Katz School of Medicine, PA School, and Department of Medicine Residency trainees continue to work and collaborate with us in Cardiology. While much of this is done remotely, we are able to maintain opportunities for our Cardiology Fellows for continued development as medical educators.