“I consider this another notch in our belt, representing the upward trajectory of our collective effort to achieve the highest standards in medical care,” Bob Phillips, hospital administrator, told his cardiac team of physicians and clinical staff during an awards presentation Wednesday morning at the hospital.
Walker Baptist was presented the Get With the Guidelines-Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association.
“This represents true commitment, true passion by those of you gathered here today,” said Carla English, quality and systems improvement representative for the American Heart Association.
The recognition signifies that the clinical staff and physicians have reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients according to the guidelines of care recommended by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology.
“Our patients should know that when they come to Walker Baptist Medical Center, they will receive the very best in cardiac care,” added Robbie Hindman, vice president of patient care services at WBMC, as she proudly held the award.
This marks the third year the hospital, physicians and staff have been recognized with a quality achievement award.
Get With the Guidelines-Heart Failure helps Walker Baptist’s staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guidelines to improve patient care. The program provides hospitals with a web-based patient management tool, best practice discharge protocols and standing orders, along with a robust registry and real-time benchmarking capabilities to track performance.
“We are dedicated to continually improving the care provided to heart failure patients. The American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure program helps us to accomplish this goal,” said Phillips. “This recognition demonstrates that we are on the right track, and we’re very proud of our team.”
The quick and efficient use of guideline procedures can improve the quality of care for heart failure patients, save lives and, ultimately, reduce healthcare costs by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks.
“Recent studies show that patients treated in hospitals participating in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure program receive a higher quality of care and may experience better outcomes,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“Walker Baptist’s team members are to be commended for their commitment to improving the care of their patients,” Schwamm added.
Following Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure treatment guidelines, heart failure patients are started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies, if needed, including cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin therapy, diuretics and anticoagulants while in the hospital.
Before discharge, they also receive education on managing their heart failure and overall health, including lifestyle modifications and follow-up care. Hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period of time to be eligible for the achievement awards.
According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure. Statistics also show that, each year, 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 277,000 people will die of heart failure.
However, many heart failure patients can lead a full, enjoyable life when their condition is managed with proper medications and devices and with healthy lifestyle changes.