Time is of the essence in treating acute cardiovascular conditions, but in far too many cases a fragmented and disorganized delivery system prohibits patients from receiving the treatments that can improve or even save their lives. For the past several years, the American Heart Association has worked as a part of the Mississippi Healthcare Alliance to develop standards around a system of care to address STEMI (ST-Elevated Myocardial Infarction) heart attacks.
When it comes to heart disease, the systems of care involves the coordination of care along the following continuum:
- Primary prevention
- Notification and response of emergency medical services (911 and EMS)
- Acute treatment
- Sub-acute care and secondary prevention
- Recovery and rehabilitation
- Continuous quality improvement initiatives
To prevent the incidence and death of STEMI heart attacks, it is important to address the whole system from prevention to rehabilitation. STEMI, a type of heart attack known as a ST-elevation myocardial infarction, is caused by the sudden blockage of an artery supplying blood to the heart.
On Wednesday, April 11, the Mississippi State Board of Health formally adopted regulations that will officially recognize the best medical centers in the state to treat STEMI heart attacks to ensure that the best care is delivered promptly. As a part of the regulations adopted, a STEMI registry will also be established. This will allow responses and outcomes of each incident to be tracked in order to discover and implement future improvements in the systems of care. While this does not complete the entire system of care, this is a HUGE step in the right direction. We are excited about the future of improvements in the area of our systems of care that will not only ensure that the best care is delivered promptly, but also save lives.
Moving forward, we will work with Emergency Medical System (EMS) personnel to ensure that patients get to the more appropriate hospital in order to receive the best care possible.