While a new study showed heart attack survival rates significantly vary among U.S. hospitals, it also found that the better-performing hospitals use several simple strategies to successfully treat heart attack patients.
Researchers examined deaths after heart attacks in 537 hospitals from January 2008 to December 2009 and found that holding monthly meetings between hospital clinicians and paramedics to review heart attack cases were associated with lower mortality rates, according to a Yale research announcement yesterday. They also found that having a cardiologist on site 24/7, promoting creative problem-solving and including a pharmacist on the daily care team were linked to better outcomes.
The study published in the May Annals of Internal Medicine also found that better doctor-nurse teamwork had the greatest effect on mortality rates, reducing deaths by 0.88 percent.
"These strategies we discovered to successfully treat patients with heart attacks were not expensive methods, and therefore, many of these tools and processes can be easily put into place by other hospitals to drastically improve the quality of care provided to these patients," senior author Harlan M. Krumholz, cardiology professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said in a statement.
But despite the success and cost-effectiveness, fewer than 10 percent of hospitals nationwide use the strategies.
Although researchers acknowledged the study did not establish cause and effect, hospitals that implemented those management strategies saw improved survival rates for heart attack patients, noted Health Day News.
The odds of surviving a hospital stay for heart attacks also improve when patients are transferred within 30 minutes and senior management has consistent involvement in the organization.