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Allegheny Valley Hospital Quality Achievement Award

Allegheny Valley Hospital Quality Achievement Award

Allegheny Valley Hospital Quality Achievement AwardAllegheny Valley Hospital (AVH) has received the Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure Bronze Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) just six months into the program. The recognition from the American Heart Association signifies that AVH has reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients for at least 90 days with 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the association and the American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for heart failure patients.

“We started the Get With The Guidelines program in July of 2011 and have since followed and collected data from over 378 heart failure patients. The American Heart Association bronze award is the first award that hospitals enrolled in the program typically achieve,” said Teresa M. Domit, PhD (c), RN, clinical nurse specialist, AVH Cardiovascular Services.

Get With The Guidelines is a quality improvement initiative that provides hospital staff with tools that follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures in caring for heart failure patients to prevent future hospitalizations. Treatment guidelines include starting heart failure patients on aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants in the hospital. They also receive alcohol/drug use counseling before being discharged.

The goal of the program is to help hospitals implement appropriate evidence-based care and protocols that will reduce disability and the number of deaths in patients. When patients get the right care when they need it, it can result in improved survival.

According to Ms. Domit, the clinical staff and physicians throughout the hospital participated in education and training to implement the American Heart Association’s best practice protocols. All heart failure patient data are collected and reviewed monthly to pinpoint areas for improvement. The collected data are submitted to the American Heart Association through an online assessment and reporting system.

According to the American Heart Association, most hospitals that implement the Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure program see measurable results quickly. The program equips staff with patient-specific guideline information that is aligned with the latest scientific research and offers access to clinical decision support. The results of the program are apparent to patients and their families and empower caregivers to do their best for the patient and the hospital.

The American Heart Association has found the goal to be simple – help hospitals save more lives by optimizing care for heart failure patients. Its studies show that following the guidelines helps to decrease mortality and maximize continued quality of life for patients through improved outcomes and fewer recurring events.

“Allegheny Valley Hospital is dedicated to making our care for heart failure patients among the best in the country, and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure program helps us to accomplish this by making it easier for our staff to improve the long-term outcome for these patients,” said Ned Laubacher, AVH president and CEO.

The program includes quality-improvement measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools. This quick and efficient use of the Guideline tools enables clinical staff to improve the quality of care they provide to heart failure patients, save lives and, ultimately, reduce healthcare costs by lowering the risk that heart attack will recur.

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure. Statistics also show that, each year, 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 277,000 people will die of heart failure.