Turning Guidelines into Lifelines 
 
Thursday, 03 June 2010 
 
 
Frye Regional Medical Center was recognized for its achievement in implementing the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM for coronary artery disease, stroke and heart failure and serves as the comprehensive heart center and primary stroke center for the Greater Hickory Metro Area -(includes counties of Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, and Alexander counties).

Frye has received the Get With The Guidelines Gold Performance Achievement Award in coronary artery disease, the Silver and Silver Plus Performance Achievement Awards for stroke, and Silver Performance Achievement Award heart failure. This level of achievement shows Frye’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart disease and stroke patients.

Get With The Guidelines helps ensure that patients treated and discharged receive quality care in accordance with guidelines that will reduce the risk of secondary events. It takes advantage of the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a heart attack or stroke, when patients are most likely to listen to their healthcare professionals’ treatment recommendations. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke.

This accomplishment signifies that Frye Regional Medical Center has reached an aggressive goal of treating coronary artery disease, stroke and heart failure patients with 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines and recommendations.

According to Get With The Guidelines treatment guidelines, patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants in the hospital, or in the case of stroke, they may receive tPA, antithrombotics and DVT prophylaxis. They also receive alcohol/drug use and thyroid management counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before being discharged.

“The full implementation of acute and secondary prevention guideline recommended therapy is a critical step in reducing death and disability of cardiovascular disease patients,” said Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., National Chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and Director of Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center. “The goal of the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines program is to help hospitals like Frye Regional Medical Center implement appropriate evidence-based care and protocols that will help reduce the number of deaths in these patients and in their communities. Frye has achieved a high level of performance in terms of implementing these life-prolonging treatments.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, each year approximately 325,000 people suffer a recurrent heart attack, 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure and 795,000 people suffer a stroke.                            

“Frye is dedicated to making our care for heart disease and stroke patients among the best in the country," said Karen Anderson, Frye’s director of clinical quality and improvement. “Get With The Guidelines makes it easier for our professionals to improve the long-term outcomes of our cardiac and stroke patients, and we are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements.”

Frye’s staff develops and implements acute and secondary prevention guideline processes. The program includes quality improvement measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools.  This quick and efficient use of guideline tools will enable Frye to improve the quality of care it provides heart disease and stroke patients, save lives and ultimately, reduce healthcare costs by lowering recurrence of events.