The recent New York Times article, "A Sea Change in Treating Heart Attacks” captures the adrenaline and complexity of getting treated in those critical moments after an acute heart attack or stroke, and how much improvement is still needed in front line care. The article highlights the developing consensus that more timely treatment of critical conditions like stroke and heart attack makes all the difference – for the patient’s life and for the hospital’s bottom line.
Yvette Samuels was listening to jazz late one night when she felt a stabbing pain down her left shoulder. She suspected a heart attack — she had heard about the symptoms from watching a Rosie O’Donnell standup routine on television — and managed to scratch on the door that connected her single room to her neighbor’s. He found her collapsed on the floor.
Reforms associated with the Accountable Care Act have really accelerated the change in thinking about healthcare quality. Now, timely treatment is carefully scrutinized, reported and analyzed by hospitals, payers and regulators. Unfortunately, as of a 2011 analysis published in the journal Circulation, two thirds of eligible stroke patients still didn’t receive clot-busting medications in the ‘golden hour’ after arrival at the hospital.
Initiatives like Get With the Guidelines, led by the American Heart Association (AHA), and reporting frameworks (like the hospital inpatient quality reporting program (IQR) initiated by CMS under consultation with the Joint Commission), have really amplified the focus and priority that institutions are giving to timely treatment.
With challenges come opportunities – the nurses and doctors on the front lines in the hospital need better tools to help them win. More pressure on the ‘do-ers’ in healthcare will only serve to tax an already stressed group of professionals – rather, support is what they need and deserve. When every minute counts for the patient → Less hassle, more clarity.