The guidelines of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) specify that a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) should be obtained and interpreted as soon as possible after a patient arrives to an emergency department (ED) with chest discomfort or symptoms suspicious for acute coronary syndrome (ACS). They specify a time goal of within 10 minutes of arrival.
The year-to-date average at Daviess Community Hospital is 3.9 minutes as of Dec. 1, 2014.
This quality data is reflective of the patients coming to the ED with the complaint of chest pain. For years the emergency department would page the respiratory therapy department to come perform the EKG. “We exceeded our goal of equal to or less than 8 minutes but I felt we could and should do better,” said Valerie Roark, director of cardiopulmonary, diagnostics and sleep lab. The PFT and sleep departments have wireless phone technology. Roark suggested they try a wireless phone to increase the response time. Before buying another wireless phone, the staff tested the theory by using one of the existing phones. The results were impressive, so an additional wireless phone was purchased. Now for every patient who arrives at the emergency department with the complaint of chest pain, the current turnaround time is two minutes faster than times from 2013. For every minute passing during an MI (heart attack), heart muscle is dying. Time truly is of the essence when a patient is experiencing a heart attack.
“This process involves the emergency department admitting clerks, unit clerks and nurses as well as the respiratory therapists,” stated Roark. “We’ve worked together to positively impact direct patient care. The staff involved are proud of the results.”