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Better Heart Attack Care Stems from Innovative Leadership

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, September 7, 2012

When a possible heart attack strikes, time is of the essence. Quick diagnosis of the patient's status and needs while in transit can make the difference between life and death—and between a lengthy hospital stay and lengthy recovery. The problem is, it's not always that easy to tell if someone is having a heart attack.

Many, if not most, EMS providers, as independent entities, simply act on their own, do their best to stabilize the patient based on the information they are able to quickly obtain, and deposit the patient at the hospital, at which the emergency team takes over.

Often, EMS teams are not aware of some of the most current research on patient symptoms, don't have the ability to contact physicians at the hospital where the patient is to be delivered, and sometimes they simply have poor relationships with the professionals on the other end of the trip.

Derrick Suehs, chief quality officer at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, NY, who knows such problems can cause a cascade of needlessly negative events to grow larger, decided to do something about one aspect of the problem at his hospital.

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