San Rafael, CA – Marin County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Silver Award, recognizing the County program’s commitment and success in implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of heart attack patients.
Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Silver award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for the entire year and treated at least eight patients within that year who suffered an acute heart attack known by medical professionals as a STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction).
“We commend Marin County EMS for this achievement award, which reflects a significant commitment to improve the quality of care for heart attack patients,” said Dr. A. Gray Ellrodt, Chair of the Mission: Lifeline committee and Chief of Medicine at the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass.
Marin’s acute heart attack program, in place since 2006, is just one example of the County’s commitment to collaboration with local EMS providers and hospitals to improve patient outcomes. Similar collaborations have made a difference in Marin for trauma care, cardiac arrest patients, the availability of automatic defibrillators and prevalence of bystander CPR. As a result, survival rates from cardiac arrest are improving in Marin.
In 2012, Marin upgraded its EMS data system containing electronic patient care records, allowing for new reports on quality improvement initiatives. Soon, Marin EMS will distribute new hand-held tablet computers that will allow paramedics to begin data entry while at a patient’s side.
“We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for acute heart attack patients,” said Marin EMS Director Miles Julihn.
Every year, almost 300,000 people nationwide experience a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.
However, a significant number of patients don't receive prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate acute heart attack patients from timely access to appropriate treatments.
“All too many heart attack patients in the United States still fail to receive appropriate treatment for their life-threatening condition within the recommended timeframes,” Ellrodt said. “We must all continue this important work to streamline and coordinate regional systems of care to save lives and prevent complications.”
EMS agencies provide education in acute heart attack identification and access to 12-lead ECG machines and follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the heart attack, promptly notify a nearby medical center and trigger and early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.
The Mission: Lifeline program mobilizes teams across the continuum of care to implement clinical treatment guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. For more information, visit www.heart.org/missionlifeline.