Minutes matter when it comes to heart attack. The faster a patient’s blocked artery is cleared the more heart muscle is saved and the greater their chance of survival. St. Mary’s Hospital recently went through a rigorous accreditation review to ensure it is doing everything possible to assess chest pain and treat heart attack rapidly and efficiently. As a result it has received full accreditation with Primary Coronary Intervention (PCI) from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC).
“While St. Mary’s has always provided a high standard of cardiac care, the accreditation process provides an objective and nonbiased review by the Society of Chest Pain centers to critically evaluate our chest pain, heart attack and treatment processes,” says Denise Mitton, Emergency Cardiac Coordinator at St. Mary’s Hospital. “It was a lot of work but so worth it. And for patients it means we’re doing all we can to ensure prompt diagnosis of heart attack followed by swift cardiac intervention so that our patients have the very best outcome possible.”
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.
The Accredited Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether or not they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.
With the increase in chest pain centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. SCPC’s accreditation process ensures that centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.
The St. Mary’s Chest Pain Center has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and undergoing an onsite review by a team of SPCP’s accreditation review specialists. Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include the following:
· Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
· Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
· Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
· Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
· Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
· Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
· Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
· Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack
The St. Mary’s Chest Pain Center was established in 2011 and is part of the Dean & St. Mary’s Cardiac Center, a comprehensive cardiac program which has treated more hearts and saved more lives than any other in the region.
About the Society of Chest Pain Centers
The Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) is an international not-for-profit organization that focuses on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction. As the only cross-specialty organization, SCPC provides the support needed for individual hospitals and hospital systems to effectively bridge existing gaps in treatment by providing the tools, education and support necessary to successfully navigate the changing face of healthcare. For more information on SCPC, accreditation and certification opportunities, visit www.scpcp.org, or call toll free 1-877-271-4176.