November 06, 2007
In recognition of its reliably rapid and accurate medical care for heart patients, John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital in north Phoenix has been fully accredited as a Chest Pain Center with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention by the national Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC).
The Deer Valley hospital's track record — consistently evaluating the cause of Emergency patients' chest pain and starting appropriate medical treatment in less time than the national 90-minute standard — was a key factor which led to the three-year accreditation, effective Oct. 22.
Surveyors from SCPC visited the hospital in early October, and just two weeks later released their recommendation that the hospital be accredited as the Valley's second Chest Pain Center with PCI.
"This hospital accreditation is important to patients with potential heart problems," explained cardiologist Tri Nguyen, MD, "because research shows patients at an accredited Chest Pain Center are more likely to survive, to receive better medical care and to recover so they can go home from the hospital more quickly."
"We are extremely proud of our personnel who made this accreditation a reality," said Deer Valley hospital's VP of Patient Care, Colleen Scharneck. "This required outstanding commitment and performance not just from paramedics and EMS, the Emergency department, Cath Lab and surgery, but throughout the hospital.
"Virtually everyone in the hospital, from physicians and nurses to patient care technicians, administrative staff, housekeepers and telephone switchboard operators all had a hand in building the excellence of our chest pain care," he added.
"The accreditation process is extensive, and means that our evaluation and treatment of patients with chest pain adhere to national guidelines in eight 'key areas,'" explains Deer Valley Emergency nurse Tracy Moroney, RN, BSN, BCEN, who shepherded the hospital's journey to accreditation.
"Much of the accreditation evaluation focuses on processes — how well the many staff involved does their jobs to ensure the patient with chest pain receives expedited, expert care without a moment's delay," she said.
Those "key areas" include how well the hospital's emergency department works with Emergency Medical Service personnel to evaluating the credentials of physicians, nurses and other staff caring for patients with chest pain. They also include evaluation of the facility's design and its exterior signage, as well as community outreach efforts.
"The 'key areas' are essential to fast, effective evaluation and treatment of chest pain," Moroney said. "For example, we work closely with pre-hospital personnel, so that evaluation and treatment starts in the field for patients calling 911 because of chest pain.
"Our physicians and staff are up-to-date on their cardiac care skills and our equipment and protocols are state-of-the-art," she said. "We've scrutinized every step in our care of the patient with chest pain, finding ways to expedite the process. If the chest pain is caused by a blockage in the heart's arteries, the faster we can unblock the artery and restore circulation to the affected heart muscle, the better the outcome."
What if chest pain is not caused by a cardiac problem? "New-onset chest pain requires evaluation by a health care professional skilled in this area. Regardless of its cause, chest pain is not a symptom to ignore," she concluded.
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