Local AHA affiliates work closely with hospitals, EMS teams and other clinical organizations to ensure AHA's heart health guidelines are being implemented. Why? Because following the guidelines leads to an improved standard of care and better quality outcomes.
“I think we can almost be an extended part of [a local] organization with what we can provide, because we're able to bring in updated guidelines, best practices and ideas they may not know even exist,” says Michelle Scharnott, Vice President of Quality and System Improvement for Midwest Affiliates. Scharnott's group serves healthcare organizations across 11 Midwestern states.
Implementing the guidelines can be challenging for various reasons. Lack of training, outdated care protocols and time constraints can inhibit the process. “I think we excel at not only helping organizations understand what the guidelines are, but in figuring out how to implement them within their own organization,” says Rea Anne Arcangel, Vice President of Quality and Systems Improvement for Western States Affiliates. “Each organization has unique limitations and resources, and we help them find ways to make the guidelines work within these constraints.”
American Heart Association guidelines serve to ensure patient health and wellness. But sometimes, as with stroke and the related medical treatment tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the guidelines also serve as quality standards. And in this respect, they form the centerpiece for maximizing value.