TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - February is when we turn our attention to matters of the heart, and hospitals have some help in keeping our hearts healthy from two leading organizations.
Dr. Lambert Wu of Topeka's Cotton-O'Neil Heart Center says there are a lot of treatments that studies show to be effective. The American Heart Association "Get with the Guidelines" program helps doctors and hospitals sort out how to go about using them. The program sets protocols for treating people who show up in the emergency room with a heart attack.
Dr. Wu says it starts with identifying the problem. If a patient shows up with heart attack symptoms, the guidelines say to get them through triage quickly, moved back into the ER and get an EKG within ten minutes.
It then provides guidance for everyone involved at every step of the way - from medications to the cath lab to rehab instructions. Dr. Wu says the guidelines allow hospitals to streamline their operations and moves through the complexities of modern medicine in a way that improves the delivery of care to the patients.
The guidelines have gone a step further and joined the American College of Cardiology's Action Registry. The registry is a place that compiles all the hospital's cases and evaluates how treatment matched up to the guidelines.
Last year, Stormont-Vail was one of 167 hospitals nationwide to receive the Action Registry's Gold Award for meeting benchmarks with the guidelines for two straight years.
Dr. Wu says the guidelines and registry aren't just improving care now, but for the future. All the data is giving doctors new insight into making treatment better. The bottom line for patients, he says, is living longer, healthier lives.