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Format: 04/23/2014
Format: 04/23/2014

News

Award Demonstrates AGH’s Commitment to Quality Care for Stroke Patients

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) has received the 2012 American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award.  The award recognizes Allegheny General’s commitment and success in delivering excellent evidence-based care for stroke patients.

This is Allegheny’s fourth consecutive Stroke Gold honor from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, and the second time AGH received the Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award.
 
To receive the Gold Plus award, AGH achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Performance Achievement indicators for 24 months and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. 
 
These measures include consistent and sustained use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“During an acute stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award demonstrates AGH’s ongoing commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing optimal stroke care,” said Ashis Tayal, MD, Director of AGH’s Comprehensive Stroke Center.   

In 2007, Allegheny General opened the region’s first dedicated inpatient Stroke Unit that centralizes and coordinates the care of stroke patients by the hospital’s multidisciplinary stroke team.  Though still the only facility of its kind in the region, such inpatient programs have been associated with better patient outcomes and are now a Class I Recommendation for comprehensive stroke centers by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

In addition, interventional neuro-radiologists at AGH have been at the forefront of using new devices and techniques to remove blood clots and rapidly restore blood flow to the brain, extending the critical window of treatment for stroke patients and improving outcomes.
 
“Allegheny General Hospital is to be commended for implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.  “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”
 
The Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program places a special emphasis on the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals’ guidance.  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.
  
“Get With The Guidelines–Stroke is one way that the stroke care team at Allegheny General remains focused on continually improving the quality of stroke care,” said David Wright, MD, a stroke neurologist and director of the AGH Inpatient Stroke Unit. “The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population and AGH is poised to provide specialized care and education for these patients.”
 
The Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award is one of many prestigious honors bestowed upon Allegheny General’s stroke program.

In 2009, AGH ranked among the top 10 percent of U.S. medical centers for the treatment of stroke, according to a comprehensive study released by HealthGrades, a leading independent healthcare ratings organization. As a result, Allegheny General received the 2010 HealthGrades Stroke Care Excellence Award™ and a 5-Star stroke treatment rating for the third consecutive year. The hospital has been designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission since 2006 and was recently named a Stroke Center of Excellence in a national survey conducted by Chicago-based healthcare think tank, NeuStrategy.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability.  On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every three minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

More than 1,000 stroke patients are admitted to AGH annually.

About Get With The Guidelines
Get With The Guidelines is the American heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit www.heart.org/quality.

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