American Heart Association Program To Help Hospitals Improve Care of Heart-Attack, Stroke Patients Shows Promise
Hospitals participating in an American Heart Association program encouraging them to follow prescribed treatment guidelines are improving their care of heart attack and stroke patients and preventing repeat hospitalizations, according to recent studies, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Guidelines for treating patients with heart failure have existed for years, but surveys have shown they are not always followed, especially for women and minorities. Surveys also show that adherence to the guidelines varies across the U.S. In response, AHA in 2000 launched a program, called "Get With the Guidelines," to foster compliance with the guidelines and, as a result, improve outcomes and reduce disparities in the care of such patients. The program is sponsored by unrestricted grants from drugmakers and medical device companies, according to the Journal.
Under AHA's program, hospitals can sign up to access physician and nurse guidelines for one or more of three conditions: stroke, heart failure or coronary artery disease. Hospitals also can receive educational materials for patients. In addition, hospitals, for a $1,800 annual fee, can participate in online seminars and enter their own data in a national registry to compare their performance with other hospitals (Landro, Wall Street Journal, 4/15).