Award-Winning Website Offers New Look, Expanded Services
HOUSTON (January 17, 2006) The Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital is launching the new year with a new look and expanded services for its website, www.texasheart.org. The website has been redesigned to offer a full spectrum of research, education and patient care information.
The THI website has seen tremendous growth over the last few years, with more than two million unique visitors logging onto the site in 2005. About half of the visitors are from outside the U.S. and 27% are Spanish-speaking.
“We expect the community outreach of our Heart Information Center to continue to expand since now all 140 topics in that section have been translated into Spanish. Informational topics of the Heart Information Center often are among the top rankings in web searches using popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo and America Online, in both English and Spanish,” explained Ken Hoge, manager of THI’s Visual Communications Services. Visitors can access the Heart Information Center topics directly at www.texasheart.org/hic.
Expanded Physician Services
While physicians have been able to register for upcoming symposia online for some time, only recently have they been able to obtain online CME credit for symposia or other programs they could not attend. THI at St. Luke’s is now promoting “CME Wherever…Whenever” to let physicians and other medical professionals know they can earn CME credit online. Material available for viewing online includes archived symposia and online courses such as Echocardiography Case Studies and Heart Sound Auscultation Review. Web visitors can also hear world-renowned speakers at the heart center’s Cardiology Grand Rounds which are hosted weekly at THI at St. Luke’s (cme.texasheart.org).
“I believe obtaining CME online is the way of the future because doctors can do this on their own time, whenever they want. With schedules getting more difficult due to higher demands on the time of physicians, this is becoming more important. Doctors are just too busy to attend a lot of meetings,” said Reynolds Delgado, MD, director of Mechanical Support Devices in Heart Failure at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s.
“Advances in multimedia presentations on the Internet allow us to put the same images and slides presented at the meeting online. This technology allows doctors to view presentations at their own pace and be able to refer back to it whenever they want. This is a great advance which now makes it very powerful medium for learning on the Internet,” said Dr. Delgado.
THI at St. Luke’s has recently received the Aesculapius Award of Excellence for its website. The annual award is named for the ancient Greek god of healing, Aesculapius. This award was established by the Health Improvement Institute, a non-profit organization based in Bethesda, Maryland, to promote informed consumer lifestyle choices and health care decisions. The website also recently received its renewed HONCode certification. HONcode is the Health On the Net Foundation’s initiative to improve the quality of medical information on the Internet.
New Community Education Services
In February, THI at St. Luke’s will kick off Heart Month by introducing Project Heart, a heart-smart resource for teachers. The Project Heart website, which can be accessed directly at www.texasheart.org/projectheart, is a health resource for teachers, parents and students. With lesson plans at its core, the site is designed to help teachers develop activities for the classroom about the heart, healthy eating, and an active lifestyle. Not limited to teachers, the site provides a wealth of information, activities, and resources for any learning environment.
Project Heart: Activities for the Classroom is a website focused on teaching the basics of the cardiovascular system and heart health to elementary school children. As part of the Texas Heart Institute’s Heart Information Center, Project Heart extends the community outreach mission to educators by offering comprehensive curriculum for grades K through 3 (with more grades to come).
Each curriculum consists of complete lesson plans supplemented by classroom activity masters and extensive multimedia resources in Look, Listen, and Learn sections. Lesson plans developed for Project Heart are based on Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS); however, the curriculum materials are suitable for any learning environment. Each grade builds on the lessons and skills of the previous one and each one includes age-appropriate lessons in anatomy, nutrition, and exercise for a healthy heart.
This project was made possible by the volunteer efforts of many educators throughout the greater Houston area. They evaluated our materials during development, assisted with developing additional lesson plans and learning activities and ensured that all lesson plans met TEKS criteria—a key standard for teachers to be able to use the curriculum.
World-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Denton A. Cooley, MD, founded the Texas Heart Institute in 1962 for the study and treatment of diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Together with the Institute's clinical partner, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, for the past 15 years it has been ranked among the nation's top ten heart centers in an annual survey published by U.S. News & World Report. For more information about the Institute, please visit www.texasheart.org.
St. Luke's was founded in 1954 by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. St. Luke's is home to the world-renowned Texas Heart Institute, founded in 1962. In 2001, St. Luke's earned the Magnet designation, the highest honor in patient care. It is the first hospital in Texas and the Southwest to be so honored. For more information about the hospital, please visit www.stlukestexas.com.