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Washington Hospital Stroke Program Earns Top Honors from the American Heart Association

August 20, 2013

Program Receives High Marks for Dedication to Quality and Excellent Patient Outcomes

Washington Hospital's Stroke Program was recognized as a recipient of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines (r) Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and the Target Stroke Honor Roll Award for improving stroke care. The awards, presented by an American Heart Association (AHA), acknowledge the hospital's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

To receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, Washington Hospital attained at least 85 percent compliance on all Get With The Guidelines(r) Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive years and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines(r) Stroke Quality Measures.

Additionally, Washington Hospital was also recognized as a recipient of the AHA's Target Stroke Honor Roll. This award recognizes hospitals that treat acute ischemic stroke in the most effective way possible using evidence-based guidelines. The goal is a door-to-needle time within 60 minutes in at least 50 percent of ischemic stroke patients treated with IV Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA), which is known as the "clot busting" medication. This means that the patient receives this important, life-saving intervention within 60 minutes of arrival to the hospital. To be eligible for the Target Stroke Honor Roll Award, the hospital must currently hold Gold, Silver or Bronze performance achievement status with Get With The Guidelines(r) Stroke and have door-to-needle times within 60 minutes.

"Washington Hospital works hard to ensure that patients receive the very best care possible when they come to the hospital, and we are extremely honored to receive these two significant distinctions in the clinical field of stroke care," said Nancy Farber, Washington Hospital Healthcare System CEO. "The ability to provide key treatments in a timely manner means a greater possibility for improved outcomes for our patients."

"Our skilled and coordinated response to acute ischemic stroke in the Emergency Department is improving the outcomes in patients with strokes," said Ash Jain, M.D., Stroke Program Medical Director. "We have a stroke program at Washington Hospital that is second to none, and we will continue to refine our approach to treating stroke patients by using best known practices, the latest technology and coordinating the available expertise to achieve the best results."
Washington Hospital Stroke Program Coordinator Doug Van Houten, R.N., says the Stroke Program's commitment to strive for improvement is far from over.

"You can never say, 'We're there, we've done it, and just sit back when it comes to stroke care," he says. "There is a whole set of guidelines for what to do if someone is having a stroke, and our program consists of an entire package, from how to prevent it to managing life after stroke. We provide educational programs for the community. Our emergency room staff is trained to prioritize strokes and treat according to national guidelines. We also have special stroke units with clinicians specially trained in stroke who follow the important issues specific to stroke treatment."

Van Houten points out that when he submitted Washington Hospital's application for the GWTG program, he needed to provide proof that Washington's program was achieving the guidelines.

"The program is required to submit data through an online data-management tool," he says. "From there, the ASA can see our data, and we can compare our program with stroke programs throughout the country."

In addition to submitting the data to the AHA/ASA, the data collected on stroke care at Washington Hospital also is used to continually evaluate and improve treatment.

"If you perform these 10 basic core measures set forth by the American Stroke Association, then you are providing patients with excellent care," Dr. Jain says. "But we don't stop with just the basic requirements. We want to go further and cover everything related to stroke. Managing diabetes is not one of the measures included, nor is hypertension, but we are very thorough in identifying and treating these risk factors."

Stroke Care You Can Count On

To learn more about Washington Hospital's Stroke Program, visit www.whhs.com/stroke. To learn more about the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With the Guidelines SM program, visit www.strokeassociation.org.

Solid Gold

The Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award demonstrates Washington Hospital's ongoing commitment to providing exceptional treatment for stroke patients. According to the AHA and ASA, hospitals that achieve a gold rating have treated stroke patients with 85 percent or higher compliance to core standard levels of care for 24 consecutive months.