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Two Emory Hospitals receive re-accreditation for Chest Pain Centers

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Janet Christenbury

Emory University Hospital (EUH) and Emory University Hospital Midtown (EUHM) have both been re-accredited as Chest Pain Centers by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. The designation lasts for three years. 

The accreditation ensures that facilities meet or exceed quality-of-care measures based on improving the process for the care of the acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patient. The care of the ACS patient starts from the onset of the patient's symptoms, and includes engagement of emergency dispatch services, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), emergency department, catheterization lab, observation unit, cardiac rehab to discharge from the facility. Within this model, facilities plan and organize the delivery of care in a systematic manner.

"Three years ago, EUH and EUHM were the first hospitals in the Atlanta metropolitan area to achieve accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers at the highest level - accreditation with PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, or angioplasty for acute heart attack)," says Michael Ross, MD, medical director of the EUH Chest Pain Center, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory, and immediate past president of the Society of Chest Pain Centers. "This re-accreditation is really the culmination of three years of hard work and innovation to keep Emory at the forefront of heart attack care - locally and internationally."

Since the initial accreditation, the hospitals have standardized the care of patients with chest pain and those having a heart attack. They have integrated with EMS to move the goal from "Door to Balloon" to "First Medical Contact to Balloon" within 90-minutes. The hospitals also take part in the T.I.M.E. (Timely Intervention for Myocardial Emergencies) and American Heart Association Mission Lifeline projects. This unique initiative makes it possible for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to transmit life-saving data to local Atlanta hospitals in order to shorten the time to treatment and increase a heart attack victim's chance of survival. EUH and EUHM are leaders in this innovative new program, which involves 15 Atlanta hospitals that treat heart attack patients with PCI. They also participate in a new cardiology database for monitoring quality metrics in acute heart attack patients.

"The inter-departmental collaboration, along with the multi-hospital collaboration and the American Heart Association, have been instrumental in process improvement for this accreditation," says Anwar Osborne, MD, MPM, medical director of Observation Medicine and the EUHM Chest Pain Center and assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory. "That, in turn, leads to quality care and improved patient outcomes."

If facilities are successful in improving the care of acute coronary syndrome patients, that supports the mission of the Society of Chest Pain Centers to reduce heart attack deaths or disability overall. More importantly, it improves the quality of health care for those living in Atlanta.

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