The CMS sponsored a study published this week by the American Heart Association that credits improved collaboration between healthcare staff for reducing the time it takes to treat U.S. patients needing emergency angioplasties.
Improvement seen in emergency angioplasties
The results appear online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The research reveals that over a six-year period, from 2005 to 2010, 90% of heart attack patients requiring emergency angioplasties underwent the procedure within the recommended treatment time of 90 minutes. Researchers call that a “remarkable” improvement compared to five years before when only 50% received angioplasties within the recommended 90-minute door to balloon timeframe, referred to by the authors as D2B.
“The focus on improving the way in which care is delivered—improving the systems—has yielded more timely care for patients and serves as a template for similar contemporary and future efforts in areas such as readmission,” according to the study.
Researchers said the significant improvement means progress occurred at all levels and facilities across the country. The biggest reductions in treatment times came from the hospitals reporting the longest times in the first year. That includes hospitals with at least 500 beds, for-profit hospitals and hospitals in the East, South, Central and Mid-Atlantic census regions.
What made the results more impressive was the absence of financial incentive, the study said. National campaigns—the CMS' Hospital Compare, the American College of Cardiology's D2B Alliance and the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline—contributed to the improvement. Another encouraging trend was a median 32-minute drop from 2005 to 2010 in the time from hospital admission to angioplasty. That's a decrease from 96 minutes to 64 minutes.
“The accomplishment is truly a tribute to interventional cardiologists, emergency medicine physicians, nurses, technologists and other team members nationwide who were dedicated to improving D2B times,” the study read.
The data sample came from the CMS, which provided information from more than 300,000 patients needing emergency angioplasties from Jan. 1, 2005, to Sept. 30, 2010. Lackluster response times nationwide led the CMS to begin recording the data in September 2005. The data also included patients without Medicare coverage.
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