Strong Receives Performance Award for Stroke Care

February 14, 2007

The University of Rochester Medical Center/Strong Memorial Hospital has received the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke (GWTG – Stroke) Initial Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association at the 2007 International Stroke Conference in San Francisco.

Strong Memorial Hospital is one of 68 hospitals in the United States recognized for this achievement, signifying their achievement of an aggressive goal of treating stroke patients with 85% compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for stroke patients for 90 consecutive days.  The guidelines include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation.

GWTG-Stroke is an in-hospital program designed to improve acute stroke treatment and prevent future strokes and cardiovascular events. GWTG-Stroke focuses on quick diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients through Primary Stroke Centers.  It also involves care team protocols once patients are admitted to ensure that they are treated and discharged appropriately. GWTG – Stroke was first introduced in 2004 and has 501 hospitals currently participating.  Stroke is the third largest cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the U.S.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the GWTG–Stroke Performance Achievement Award recognizes success in improving time to treatment along with other aspects of stroke care,” said Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., American Heart Association volunteer chairman for the national GWTG Steering Committee. “Improving the care received by stroke patients can improve their clinical outcomes after an event.  We are proud of Strong’s commitment and want to commend them for implementing lifesaving standards and protocols for stroke care.”

Each year, about 700,000 people suffer a stroke — 500,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent. On average, every 45 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke. Each year, about 46,000 more women than men have a stroke.  And, of stroke survivors age 40 and older, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women die one year following a first stroke.  In 2007, Americans are estimated to pay about $62.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability.

“Strong is dedicated to making our patient care for stroke patients among the best in the country, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s GWTG program helps us accomplish that by providing our professionals with tools and resources to improve the quality of care and long-term outcomes of our stroke patients,” said Curtis Benesch, M.D., director of the Strong Stroke Center. “We accept this award on behalf of the stroke patients we have provide care.  The patients are the reason we strive for excellence.”

Implementing GWTG-Stroke includes several steps. The first step is for participating hospitals to develop a Primary Stroke Center within their facility to strengthen acute stroke service delivery infrastructure.  Expected benefits of a Primary Stroke Center includes improved efficiency of patient care; reduced morbidity and mortality among patients; reduced costs to healthcare system; improved long-term outcomes; and increased patient satisfaction. The next step is to identify GWTG champions and build a team.  Then, the hospital must assess current treatment rates by collecting data on 30 patients and determine a baseline and areas for improvement.  Subsequently, the hospital must refine their processes, protocols and system.  And next, implement the changes.  Finally, the hospital must continue the program and their pursuit of clinical excellence.

About GWTG

Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based program designed to ensure that patients are consistently treated and discharged according to evidence-based guidelines and recommendations for stroke, heart failure, and coronary artery disease.  GWTG was the first hospital-based program to receive the prestigious Innovation in Prevention Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2004.

For Media Inquiries:
Mark Michaud
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