Why strategic partnerships — not competition — is a top priority for Children's Wisconsin's heart institute director

Aaron Kinney, executive director of Herma Heart Institute at Children's Wisconsin, discussed the big trends in pediatric heart care, research and innovation during a recent episode of the Becker's Healthcare cardiology podcast.

Here is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the full episode.

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What are your top priorities today and how do you see them evolving in the next 12 months or so? 

Aaron Kinney: Like many of the folks you've talked to, getting our patients back into the clinic is going to be important, but also taking advantage of some of the gains we've made in telehealth and virtual delivery over the last 18 months. We don't want to take a step back.

I think strategic partnerships to keep patient care our main focus, despite all the financial pressures and noise, also will continue to be a focus. A top of mind example would be pediatric cardiac transplants in Wisconsin. There might be 10 to 20 heart transplants in a year max in Wisconsin. Currently, we work very closely with the other children's hospitals in the state to collaborate on these kids rather than compete. Think of a year where there might only be 10 transplants in the state with two programs competing for four or five each. Then we'd end up with two mediocre programs and that's just not good for kids or what we're doing. So instead we are able to ensure we have an elite world-class program in the state with this partnership, and by all means compete in other areas.

The last area to prioritize, and certainly something that is well beyond just cardiology, is finding time to innovate. With modern medicine, especially in cardiology, there's been so much progress in the last 50 years and outcomes continue to get better. There's some big things on the horizon and some really monumental possibilities to completely change the care we're providing, but it's going to take some big investments. And I think listening to some of your podcasts, it's not gonna be necessarily news, but two of the obvious areas would be in how we manage data and some of the cool stuff going on with cord blood and stem cell research.

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