New Hora de Hablar CARDIO Program Aims to Improve Conversations for Better Heart Health

Award-Winning Time to Talk CARDIO Program Now Available in Culturally Relevant Spanish Version

Dec 08, 2010, 07:00 ET from Merck

NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- An innovative new program, Hora de Hablar CARDIO Creando la Atencion Real y Dialogo Inmediato en la Oficina, launched today to encourage patients and health care professionals to actively partner to help better manage heart health through more productive conversations during medical visits. Tailored specifically for the Hispanic community, Hora de Hablar CARDIO is a culturally translated Spanish-language version of award-winning program, Time to Talk CARDIO Creating A Real Dialogue In the Office. Hora de Hablar CARDIO and Time to Talk CARDIO are educational programs paid for by Merck and developed in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, Canyon Ranch Institute and RIASWorks. For more information, please visit

"There is strong evidence showing that empowered patient-provider communication offers many benefits, including increased understanding and satisfaction, which may help improve patient outcomes," said Astrid T. Almodovar, M.D., M.P.A. a Time to Talk CARDIO pilot physician at Forest Hills Family Health Associates in New Jersey. "We believe Hora de Hablar CARDIO may make an important difference in how Spanish-speaking patients and their health care professionals communicate."

More than 870,000 Americans die from heart disease each year making it the number one cause of death in the country. Among Hispanic Americans, nearly one out of every three deaths annually is due to heart disease. Language and cultural barriers, combined with little or no access to preventive medicine, are some of the factors that shape Hispanic American health. The result is that Hispanic American patients are more likely to delay health care and cease treatment when symptoms subside or disappear. It is, therefore, important to optimize the limited time available during medical visits to help address patient adherence.

"While we've made great progress in addressing heart disease, many patients fail to experience the full benefit from their treatment plans for a variety of reasons," said Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, 17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002-2006) and Chair of the Time to Talk CARDIO Advisory Board. "When patients and their physicians, nurses, or other health care professionals strengthen their communication skills by using the Hora de Hablar CARDIO tool, they can make the most of their time together during the medical visit."

A key component of Hora de Hablar CARDIO is a free, online, communication skill-building tool featuring more than 180 videos that demonstrate techniques to plan for medical visits, improve listening skills and problem-solve. Hora de Hablar CARDIO also offers free, cardiovascular-focused, educational resources for patients, health care professionals and organizations, including patient brochures, posters and goal setting work sheets. Materials are available to download or order at

Consistent with Time to Talk CARDIO's development, in-clinic evaluation is an important part of Hora de Hablar CARDIO. Marianne McKennett, M.D., director at Scripps Family Medicine Residency Program in California, clinical professor of Family Medicine at University of California, San Diego, and American Academy of Family Physicians member, will help to test Hora de Hablar CARDIO by piloting the tool in her practice. Results from this pilot are expected in 2011.

About Hora de Hablar CARDIO

Hora de Hablar CARDIO is a unique, evidence-based, Spanish-language communication skill-building initiative. It is a culturally-relevant and linguistically-appropriate version of the award-winning Time to Talk CARDIO program. Created for Spanish-speaking communities, Hora de Hablar CARDIO seeks to improve heart health outcomes by helping to enrich the dialogue between patients and health care professionals. Hora de Hablar CARDIO was developed by the Time to Talk CARDIO Advisory Board in collaboration with a team of experts who have more than 25 years of experience working with Hispanic populations to promote health and encourage patient empowerment.

About Time to Talk CARDIO

Time to Talk CARDIO is an educational program paid for by Merck. The program, developed in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, Canyon Ranch Institute and RIASWorks, is dedicated to advancing cardiovascular health by helping to improve the dialogue between patients and health care professionals. The Time to Talk CARDIO tool was modeled after LEAPS, a framework developed by Debra Roter, Dr.P.H., M.P.H. of RIASWorks, to assist health care professionals and patients in improving their in-clinic conversations. LEAPS addresses five key areas: Listen, Educate, Assess, Partner and Support. The Time to Talk CARDIO program also offers many free cardiovascular-focused educational resources, including patient and health care provider brochures, posters and goal setting work sheets. Materials are available free to download or order from the Time to Talk CARDIO web site at

About the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation advances the values of Family Medicine by promoting humanitarian, educational, and scientific initiatives that improve the health of all people. The AAFP Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Family Physicians, which is one of the largest national medical organizations, representing more than 94,600 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students nationwide. Thanks to funding from physician members and corporate partners, the AAFP Foundation supports good work that makes a difference at home and around the world.

About Canyon Ranch Institute

Canyon Ranch Institute (CRI) catalyzes the possibility of optimal health for all people by translating the best practices of Canyon Ranch and its partners to help educate, inspire, and empower every person to prevent disease and embrace a life of wellness. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, CRI collaborates with partners to improve health literacy, prevent disease, and eliminate health disparities. CRI President Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, 17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002-2006), is chair of the Time to Talk CARDIO Advisory Board. CRI Executive Director Jennifer Cabe, M.A., and CRI Health Literacy and Research Director Andrew Pleasant, Ph.D., serve on the Time to Talk CARDIO Advisory Board.

About RIASWorks

RIASWorks was established in 2008 to contribute to the science of interpersonal communication in order to enhance health care quality, well being and health. The company supports research and professional education, quality assurance, and excellence in clinical practice through the provision of coding services and training in the use of the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS) and the development and dissemination of evidence-based medical communication tools.

About Merck

Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit