By EHS Quality Department
For every minute that a patient waits between the first recognized symptom of a heart attack and receives treatment, heart cells begin to die irreversibly.
Once cardiac symptoms develop, an imaginary clock starts ticking. According to the ACC or the American College of Cardiology “A patient experiencing an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) anywhere in the U.S. can now expect to receive life-saving reperfusion in less than 90 minutes and often less than 60 minutes” (acc.org).
Time to E.K.G (Electrocardiogram) is not only clinically meaningful, but also actionable, as the focus must be on reducing the time the heart muscle goes without life sustaining oxygen. Furthermore, the time for E.K.G must be achieved in 10 minutes or less, according to national recommendations and standards.
Since April 2021, Emergency Hospital Systems has been implementing at all its facilities a new quality tracking initiative known as CODE E.K.G.
CODE E.K.G is an all hands-on deck approach where minutes matter most. In conjunction with our registration department, upon initial presentation of a patient with chest pain, CODE E.K.G will be paged overhead alerting healthcare staff to begin the critical measures in rapid assessment, treatment, diagnosis, and transfer out when indicated.
Our facilities have been working hard at implementing CODE E.K.G, and the efforts have paid off. In April, results showed that Cleveland Emergency Hospital had an overall time to E.K.G of 6 minutes, with one case of STEMI being diagnosed and transferred out in 51 minutes. Texas Emergency Hospital showed an E.K.G of 6 minutes, while Porter HOPD 3 minutes, Woodlands HOPD 9 minutes, and Deerbrook HOPD 5 minutes. In all cases, patients received EKGs within 10 minutes of arrival, complying with national standards and recommendations.
Where seconds matter, EHS continues to strive to meet the needs of our community through the tracking and monitoring of quality core measures to enhance experience and outcome one patient at a time.
Staff. (2016, November 30). Door-to-Balloon 10 Years Later: Successful Model Sets the Stage for the Next Generation of ACC’s QI Programs. American College of Cardiology. https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2016/11/29/10/30/door-to-balloon-10-years-later.