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WakeMed News Releases

April 10, 2006
Raleigh, NC - WakeMed Health & Hospitals announces that the Raleigh Campus and Cary Hospital have received national accreditation as Chest Pain Centers.

The Chest Pain Center accreditation was awarded following a Society of Chest Pain Centers site visit to each facility in late March. WakeMed Raleigh Campus and Cary Hospital demonstrated excellence in the eight key qualifying elements:
1. Emergency department integration with the EMS;
2. Emergency assessment of patients with symptoms of possible acute coronary syndromes (ACS) with timely diagnosis and treatment;
3. Assessment of patients determined to have low to moderate risk for ACS;
4. Functional facility design;
5. Personnel, competencies, and training;
6. Organizational structure;
7. Process improvement orientation; and
8. Community outreach program.

“WakeMed has an established history of leadership in cardiac care,” commented Betsy Gaskins-McClaine, executive director of the WakeMed Heart Center. “Being a designated Chest Pain Center, reinforces that the processes and procedures used by our team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals ensure rapid diagnosis and fast appropriate care, offering our patients the best care and chance to avoid or minimize the damage from a heart attack.”

According to the American Journal of Cardiology, more than five million Americans enter the hospital with chest pain each year. Of those, 1.25 million will present cardiac distress symptoms and 600,000 will die of heart disease.

“To prevent death and minimize disability, patients must be able to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of an acute myocardial infarction (AMI or heart attack) and the physician must quickly diagnose the AMI and initiate treatment,” continued Gaskins-McClaine, executive director of the WakeMed Heart Center. “For all of these steps to happen in a timely manner, it requires action to seek help by an informed patient, good communication with EMS, strong teamwork by well trained professionals experienced in the treatment of emergency cardiac interventional care, and processes and procedures in place within the hospital to expedite the care of a patient presenting with chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack.”

“The emergency department is the primary entrance for patients with chest pain or classic symptoms of a heart attack, and, as a hospital with a leading Heart Center, our process for triaging and expediting care for patients presenting with chest pain has always been efficient,” commented Janice Frohman, director WakeMed Raleigh Campus emergency department. “However, we consistently challenge ourselves to streamline the process. As an example, we expect Wake County EMS to be able to transmit EKGs directly to the emergency department prior to the patient’s arrival in the next few weeks. This advance notice will enable us to expedite patients with chest pain even faster.”

The Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that a patient is neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted to the hospital.

With the rise of Chest Pain Centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. The Society’s accreditation process insures centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.

About the Society of Chest Pain Centers

The Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) is an international professional society focused on improving care for patient with acute coronary syndromes and related maladies. The Society is committed to improving the quality of patient care through protocol-based medicine and the adoption of process improvement science to healthcare. SCPC is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. For more information, visit www.scpcp.org.
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