In 2003 only 40% of heart attack patients at Good Samaritan had door-to-balloon times shorter than 90 minutes. A physician took on the role of improving clinical quality around the cath lab, and the hospital required all ambulance companies it worked with to switch to a 12-lead EKG machine, trained paramedics how to identify a STEMI patient with the 12-lead EKG, and empowered them to call the ED and institute a cardiac alert, so the cardiologists at home could get to the hospital faster. In 2010, 99% of patients had door-to-balloon times under 90 minutes, with the average being 56 minutes, and recently Good Samaritan posted its lowest door-to-balloon time of 11 minutes.
Looking ahead, Good Samaritan, which launched a commercial accountable care organization in January 2011, is not waiting for the next evolution of healthcare reform from Washington, Fox says. "We need to maintain or improve outcomes while we lower the costs of care across the continuum," he says. "So we are moving forward in doing the right thing, which I think is improving the value and really reducing costs of healthcare for our community."
This article appears in the December 2011 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.