The Growth Channel

Take your STEMI network to the next level with these 4 best practices

by Alicia Daugherty and Dhananjai Seth

ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) is a serious and common type of heart attack. In recent years, the number of STEMI patients with cardiogenic shock has climbed steadily—with little improvement in mortality rates.

Effective treatment of cardiogenic shock patients requires sophisticated, multidisciplinary care, which is why many organizations have favored using hub-and-spoke networks to triage patients appropriately. The hub contains advanced services to treat critically ill patients, while spoke facilities ensure rapid transport and offer rehabilitation and follow-up.

However, to effectively care for this patient population using an advanced network, you’ll need to make key investments in infrastructure, technology, and staffing—investments that typical STEMI networks often lack. Read on for four best practices to treat cardiogenic shock patients, and download our new research report for a deeper dive.

1. Ensure the right network competencies

Cardiogenic shock patients require rapid stabilization, treatment, and rehabilitation. To deliver quality care along this continuum, cardiogenic shock networks must consist of multidisciplinary care teams, specialized nursing staff, and sophisticated technology. The hub and spoke locations each play a role: the hub houses the most specialized treatment, including hemodynamic support devices, coronary care units, and highly-trained support staff; the spokes typically identify cardiogenic shock patients and provide stabilizing support, rehabilitation, and follow-up after discharge from the hub.

2. Establish rapid transfer and activation protocols

For cardiogenic shock patients to be efficiently transported to the hub and received by an activated rapid shock team, establish dedicated hotlines or call center triage processes for physicians referring cardiogenic shock patients to the hub.

3. Conduct robust data tracking

Providers are just beginning to develop clinical best practices for cardiogenic networks. For this reason, organizations must prioritize data tracking and case review in order to make sure care provision is optimal. To do so, hold regular meetings where participants dive into individual case findings, review treatment processes, and evaluate patient outcomes.

4. Facilitate strong network coordination

Collaborative relationships, outcomes reporting, and post-care communication—all championed by a dedicated coordinator—support strong network coordination across hospitals. In the highest-performing cardiogenic shock networks, participating facilities create open communication channels and data sharing protocols to build long lasting partnerships. By opening communication channels and readily sharing data, hospitals overcome competitive dynamics and build a culture of patient centered care.

Learn 6 steps to optimize CV organizational and leadership structures

CV programs have been developing cardiovascular service lines for years, but there’s no standard definition of what a service line entails. We define it as having a dedicated administrative body, a discrete budget, and a unified strategic plan.

When it comes to CV service line organizational and leadership models, there is no "right answer" for all programs. And there is typically no end state—it is usually a work in progress. These six steps and associated tools will assist you in defining the org chart and governance structure that’s right for you.

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