Prompt, safe and efficient care is crucial for patients experiencing symptoms of a heart attack. Just as there is a “golden hour” for trauma and stroke care, cardiovascular events require care within 90 minutes. Having standardized diagnostic and treatment protocols in place helps patients receive appropriate evaluations and rapid treatment. This also helps an organization earn accreditation as a Chest Pain Center by the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC). HealthPark Medical Center has achieved this impressive distinction.
“Earning Chest Pain Center accreditation affirms our ability to provide advanced and efficient cardiac care, while demonstrating our commitment to continuous improvement,” says Cindy Brown, RN, vice president of patient care services at HealthPark Medical Center. “In addition to assuring we meet accreditation standards, the SCPC also reviews innovations—improvements to care.”
Currently, the SCPC has four cycles of accreditation. HealthPark Medical Center earned cycle three accreditation in September.
Cindy says a driving force behind HealthPark Medical Center’s progress as a Chest Pain Center is Debbie Hupe-Cyr, RN, certified chest pain coordinator and supervisor of emergency services at HealthPark Medical Center. “Debbie was the first certified chest pain coordinator in the United States,” Cindy explains. “She took the initiative because she wanted Lee Memorial Health System to get the recognition we deserve for the leading-edge cardiac care we provide. Her focus and commitment has definitely helped us improve our coordination of care and efficiency, and she has helped bring us to a new level of performance.”
“We learn a lot from our connection with SCPC,” Debbie says. “We are able to share best practices and brainstorm ideas to improve care. The accreditation provides a good starting point for efficiency, and we have been able to build on that with our innovations.”
Recent improvements at HealthPark Medical Center include:
- Atomic clocks. Every crucial component in the field and at the hospital and all vital staff have a digital clock to ensure the health care team is coordinated in their timing of care.
- Overhead announcement alerts all departments to prepare for cardiac patients.
- Designated parking for patient’s family and dedicated after-hours parking for cardiac catheterization staff.
“Every minute counts, so our innovations have focused on decreasing response times,” Cindy says.
“HealthPark Medical Center is our first accredited Chest Pain Center, but plans are in place to have Gulf Coast Medical Center accredited, as well. Cape Coral Hospital and Lee Memorial Hospital—even though they do not have the interventional capabilities that the other two hospitals have—also will proceed with the accreditation. Debbie has worked diligently to put many of HealthPark Medical Center’s successful processes in place at each of the other hospitals, so even if a patient comes to one of the other emergency departments, they will get the care they require in the appropriate time frame.”
Cindy also shares that Debbie has recruited champions—cardiologists, emergency room physicians, nurses, and staff from the catheterization lab—to review data, improve processes, brainstorm ideas and evaluate protocol. Debbie also attends speaking engagements and health fairs to educate the community on the importance of seeking help for possible heart attacks.
Debbie’s passion for leading-edge cardiac care is apparent, and she has worked hard to ensure success, but she says the entire team should be recognized. “From the top to the bottom, our success could not have happened without our entire team,” Debbie says. “We have had unbelievable ‘buy-in’ from everyone involved and it shows in our progress.”
This is another great example of the power of collaboration to not only get things done, but to get things done correctly, safely and efficiently. Countless patients will benefit from the leadership, teamwork and commitment exhibited at HealthPark Medical Center.