COLUMBIA, Mo. ― University Hospital has received accreditation as a chest pain center of excellence from the Society of Chest Pain Centers.
As part of the accreditation process, an extensive on-site review was conducted to examine the treatment a patient experiencing chest pain receives, from response to discharge. In addition, University Hospital’s community programs were reviewed.
“Every aspect of the cardiac care process was closely examined to confirm University Hospital is providing benchmark care to chest pain patients in mid-Missouri,” said Cindy Feutz, R.N., M.S.N., a cardiology clinic nurse specialist at University Hospital and chest pain center coordinator. “The reviewers concluded University Hospital’s cardiac care is exemplary and deserved Cycle II status, a step up from our 2007 accreditation.”
The accreditation process helps each facility define and actualize its strengths, identify and improve weaknesses, and recognize opportunities to enhance processes. University Hospital was accredited as a Cycle I chest pain center in 2007. Cycle II status was achieved this year in 2009. Cycle III status, the highest level of excellence attainable, is expected to be achieved in 2011. Key areas of expertise that a chest pain center must demonstrate are:
• Integration of the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
• Rapid assessment, diagnosis and treatment
• Effective treatment for patients at low risk for acute coronary syndrome with no assignable cause for their symptoms
• Continual improvement of processes and procedures
• Competency and training of staff
• Organizational structure and commitment
• A functional design that promotes optimal patient care
• Support of community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack
An important measure of how well a hospital provides treatment to patients experiencing chest pain is the time it takes staff members to recognize symptoms and manage the care of the patient. For those experiencing acute myocardial infarction, most commonly referred to as a heart attack, quick treatment can mean the difference between life and death.
“Data clearly shows that if the heart attack-related artery is opened within 90 to 120 minutes after first patient contact, there is a significant improvement in how well the heart pumps after injury,” said Richard Webel, M.D., a cardiologist and medical director of University Hospital’s chest pain center. “Ventricular function correlates with long-term function and survival.”
Teamwork and planning are the reason University Hospital has surpassed the national goal for treating patients presenting with chest pain with an average door-to-cath lab time of 60 minutes, Feutz said. Ambulance crews, flight personnel, emergency room staff, cardiac catheterization lab staff and cardiologists all work together to ensure that patients with chest pain who arrive at University Hospital are diagnosed and treated rapidly. Follow-up care and resource coordination by cardiac care nurses, cardiac rehabilitation nurses, social workers, dietitians, case managers and allied health professionals is vital to recovery and long-term disease management.
“For the patient, that not only means the best chance for survival, but the opportunity for a full recovery as well,” said Feutz.
Founded in 1998, the Society of Chest Pain Centers is a non-profit international society dedicated to the belief that heart disease can be eliminated as the number one cause of death worldwide.