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Building a Top Cath Lab in 10 Not-So-Easy Steps

Jim Molpus, for HealthLeaders Media, July 3, 2012

The interventional cardiology program at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York has grown from a total catheterization lab volume of just over 14,000 annual cases per year in 2007 to almost 20,000 last year. In that same time, as volume has grown, complication and mortality rates have been among the lowest in the region. Over five years, mortality in percutaneous interventions is at 0.21% and major complications at 0.52%.

Samin K. Sharma, MD, director of clinical cardiology and president of the Mount Sinai Heart Network, has broken down the program's success into 10 reasons and goals, from teamwork to a commitment of investment by leadership. Among the most critical has been "uniform standardized medical and non-medical protocols" which have been installed throughout the catheterization lab, from the senior interventionalists to everyone on the care team. Sharma says he knew the protocols were working when the health commissioner of New York state came to tour the lab to see for himself how they worked.

"I mentioned about the protocols and we showed the book to the health commissioner at that time," Sharma says. "He said, 'You're telling me that your interventional fellows know about the book?' I said, 'No problem. We can go back to the cath lab and you can ask my intervention fellows anything from this150-page book.' They opened it, asked questions, and the answers were perfect. That is why we emphasize so much teaching."

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