At a social gathering this weekend, as we humans like to do, someone asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a cardiologist.

"What hospital do you work at?" he asked.

This is invariably the response I get whenever I tell people what I do. I wouldn't make much of it except that it happens just about every time.

This indicates to me just how successful hospitals, my colleagues, cardiac device manufacturers, and others supporting the status quo in heart care, have been in persuading us that the place for heart disease is the hospital--period.

Tense families, drama, high-tech...It all takes place in the hospital.

Yet the people destined to be the fodder for hospital heart care are presently well, mostly unaware of what the future holds. Also unaware that heart disease is readily, easily, inexpensively, and accurately identifiable. Ask anyone in the Track Your Plaque program who's had a CT heart scan.

We all need to rid ourselves of the idea that the hospital is the place for heart disease. If the coronary plaque behind heart attack is easy to detect and controllable, there's little or no need for the hospital for the vast majority of us.

In the majority of instances of coronary disease, the hospital should be the place for the non-compliant and the ill-informed, and not for those of us sufficiently motivated to know and do better. The formula is simple: 1) Quantify plaque with a CT heart scan, 2) Identify the causes, then 3) Correct the causes.