CALDWELL, ID – West Valley Medical Center is the first hospital in Canyon County to become an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC).
“Our facility proactively engaged in a rigorous standardization of their cardiac care processes,” notes Richard Augustus, M.D, chief medical officer, West Valley Medical Center. “As a result, the treatment received by every patient with heart attack symptoms is based on the most current research and best clinical practices. Simply put, this means we’re able to save more lives.”
The most effective and potentially life-saving time to treat heart attacks is during the critical early stages. By utilizing a protocol-driven and systematic approach, physicians and support staff at West Valley Medical Center are more effectively reducing the time it takes to accurately assess, diagnose and treat a patient who is potentially experiencing a coronary event.
This same standardized approach enables better monitoring of patients when it is not clear whether or not they are having a heart attack. Such observation helps to ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted to the hospital.
The accredited centers signify a commitment to delivering quality care to patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. Each facility has met or exceeded a wide set of stringent criteria and underwent an onsite review this month by a team of SPCP’s accreditation review specialists.
Key areas in which these centers must demonstrate expertise include the following:
- Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
- Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
- Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack
- Effectively treating low risk patients with no assignable cause for their symptoms
- Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
- Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
- Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
- Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
- Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
In meeting these criteria, the practice of acute cardiac medicine at West Valley Medical Center and other HCA Mountain Division facilities now encompasses the entire continuum of care for the heart patient. It includes close collaboration between local dispatch and emergency medical systems and each facility’s emergency department and cath lab, as well as a dedicated focus on quality assurance. It also supports community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack.
“The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms,” explains cardiologist Murali Bathina, M.D. “They don’t realize that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage will be done to their heart resulting in a better outcome. Too many people wait too long before calling 911 when they think they might be having a heart attack. It’s also important to note people should always call 911 instead of driving to the hospital. The EMT staff is able to administer care immediately and alert the hospital of their arrival.”
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 800,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain.
The Accredited Chest Pain Centers also serve as a point of entry into the healthcare system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack. To find out if you may be at risk for heart disease, take our free, online assessment at westvalleyisbetter.com.