We've said it before, and we will say it again: inefficient communication is costing our patients -- big time. A recent study revealed that changing the way EMS and hospital teams communicate -- specifically by coordinating emergency care as soon as EMS arrived on scene -- reduced treatment times for STEMI patients. The study's senior author, Dr. Christopher Granger of Duke University Medical Center said "It’s absolutely clear that to save the lives of people having heart attacks we have to open the artery quickly. We can probably reduce mortality by 60 percent."
We all know that when it comes to STEMI, time is tissue. Yet, today half of all Americans who suffer STEMIs DO NOT receive PCI treatment within the AHA-recommended time frame. Why are we struggling to much? We are limited by our own communication protocols.
The study examined 484 hospitals and 1,253 EMS agencies in the U.S. over a two-year period, and assembled key influencers from the local healthcare systems in efforts to develop care coordination plans to get patients to treatment earlier. One such solution was to have EMS personnel diagnose a heart attack on scene, then alert the nearest PCI-capable hospital and bypass the ED upon arrival, taking that patient directly to the operating room.
The results of the program indicated that after efforts to coordinate care, 55% of the 23,809 patients studied received PCI treatment - compared to just 50% before the study began.
According to Reuters Health, Dr. James Jollis of Duke University said "In the long run, [this program] should be everywhere in the U.S. Every single patient should be treated according to these protocols."
The body of evidence suggesting that coordination of emergency care saves time and improves outcomes continues to grow. So what's your plan for reducing your treatment times and meeting the standards of care? Facilities that use Pulsara have seen a 24% improvement in the <60 minute STEMI treatment benchmark, and a 17% improvement in the <90 minute benchmark.
Our archaic means of communication have a cost. And our patients shouldn't have to pay the price.