Lessons for all in hospital’s accreditation

Published 1:09 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Andalusia Health’s recent accreditation as a chest pain center is good news for all of us.

The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), the accrediting arm of the American College of Cardiology, announced the designation for the local hospital last week.

The accreditation is important for several reasons.

First, in seeking this certification, local hospital officials studied data. And what they found was that area patients waited an average of 431 minutes after the onset of heart attack symptoms before calling 911. That’s just a little more than seven hours.

And they set out to change all of that, said Amy Herrington, director of emergency services.

Herrington and local cardiologist Dr. Greg Price began doing awareness presentations, stressing the need to seek medical attention earlier, in hopes of mitigating the dangers of a heart attack.

The result was a dramatic change in statistics: The latest study shows that people called 911 approximately 78 minutes after the onset of symptoms.

Meanwhile, members of the hospital staff were trained and protocols were put into place to ensure that every patient who presented with chest pain in the emergency room gets the same standard of treatment.

Research by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows1-in-3 Alabamians are obese. It’s not surprising that the leading cause of death in Alabama is heart disease, which accounted for 25 percent of all deaths in 2013.

Hospitals like Andalusia Health are responding to that crisis by being prepared.

We, too, should be prepared by knowing the signs of a heart attack, and taking steps to get treated when symptoms appear.