ANN ARBOR, MI As they rush to the hospital, todays heart attack patients may assume theyll get all of the best, most scientifically proven treatments available. But in reality, they may not. For a number of reasons, a large gap exists between what medical science has proven effective and what patients actually receive a gap that can mean the difference between life and death.
Now, a team of hospitals, led by physicians from University of Michigan Health System, is reporting success in improving the odds that patients will get the medicines, tests, procedures, counseling and follow-ups that are proven to improve their chances of surviving and returning to a full life.
As reported in the March 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the ten Detroit-area hospitals made the gains through a system of reminders, checklists, stickers, standard orders, reference cards and educational materials that made it easier for doctors, nurses and patients to follow the American College of Cardiologys national heart attack guidelines.
When compared with their previous records, and with hospitals that did not use the system, the hospitals in the study significantly boosted the percentage of their patients that got aspirin, beta-blocker drugs and advice on stopping smoking. They also closed the gap for other treatments.
Fittingly, the ACC-sponsored study is called GAP, for Guidelines Applied in Practice. And even as the results from its first multi-center test are published, UMHS and other GAP hospitals are using the studys tools in everyday care, and joining in an expanded study with more hospitals.
The jump in the percentage of patients that received some of the recommended therapies was phenomenal, showing us that we can make positive change throughout hospitals of any size or type, says GAP project director and seni
Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System