In 2010, Washington established a statewide system to transport and treat cardiac and stroke patients. Much like the trauma system, the Emergency Cardiac and Stroke System was designed to ensure patients get to the right hospital capable of administering the right treatment at the right time. Advocates were thrilled to see this level of coordination among emergency medical services (EMS) and hospitals. A coordinated system can help ensure that no matter where in the state someone suffered a cardiac event or stroke, that they can get the right treatment and improve their odds of a positive outcome.
The system was established with virtually no state funding and with only voluntary participation from hospitals self-reporting the type of cardiac and stroke patients they could treat. While these limitations still allowed the state to move forward on establishing a good system for patients in 2010, stakeholders including physicians, nurses and advocates always intended to make the system even stronger.
We believe that day has arrived. Now, six years later, we’ve seen the system in action. Undoubtedly it has helped patients get to the right hospital for the right treatment in the right time and the American Heart Association is working with stakeholders and lawmakers to strengthen the Emergency Cardiac and Stroke System of Care, by:
- ensuring every patient is taken to a hospital certified and ready to provide the kind of care that patient needs;
- creating a statewide database to (anonymously) track patient treatment and outcomes;
- working with EMS and hospitals to conduct patient care quality improvement;
- providing funding to aid hospitals in acquiring the necessary certification and data systems.
Join us as we gear up for the 2017 legislative session when we will ask lawmakers to help strengthen the system that can give cardiac and stroke patients the best chance at good outcomes.