Reviewing myocardial infarction cases during monthly meetings with emergency medical services and maintaining a positive working environment are among the relatively inexpensive strategies that can reduce mortality rates among MI patients, according to a study.
The strategies could potentially save thousands of lives a year, according to lead author Elizabeth H. Bradley, PhD, director of the Global Health Leadership Institute at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
The study is the culmination of five years of research and results from a web-based survey of more than 500 hospitals, according to a news release from Yale. The data helped the researchers identify some of the best strategies hospitals use to successfully treat MI patients.
The researchers found several factors were significantly associated with lower MI mortality rates, including: monthly meetings between hospital clinicians and emergency medical services to review cases; the constant presence of a cardiologist onsite or, in cases when that was not possible, the presence of a pharmacist on the daily care team; encouraging creative problem-solving by clinicians; having physician and nurse champions, rather than only nurse champions; and not cross-training nurses from the ICU for the cardiac catheterization laboratory.
Fewer than 10% of hospitals surveyed use at least four of the five strategies, according to the researchers.
“Although mortality rates as a result of heart attacks continue to decrease, substantial variation in these rates among hospitals across the United States persist, and we know little as to why some hospitals are more successful than others in treating patients with heart attacks,” Bradley said in the news release. “Our findings identify common features of hospitals with lower mortality rates and open the door for improvement nationally.”
Bradley said key aspects of the organizational environment of hospitals — including effective communication and collaboration among groups, broad staff presence and expertise, and a culture of problem-solving and learning — were apparent in the qualitative work and were statistically associated with higher mortality rates in the quantitative work.
“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 Krumholz, MD, the Harold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at the Yale School of Medicine, said in the news release.
The study appears in the May 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. To view the data and access the study via subscription or purchase, visit http://bit.ly/KDfZhh.