In a recent article published in Cath Lab Digest on the Rationale for Developing a Chest Pain Center, accreditation was briefly discussed as one way to position a chest pain center for success. Not only does accreditation provide a means to validate quality and improve program performance, but also differentiates a program in the community. This can be a major factor in today’s competitive healthcare environment, especially as publically-reported outcomes measures are increasingly scrutinized, and chest pain remains a high-volume diagnosis at hospitals across the country.
A hallmark of accreditation is the positive impact on clinical care through standardization of protocols – meaning all patients receive the same high-quality care regardless of when (or where in the case of a multi-site or system service line). No doubt, accreditation can help align processes across a facility or a system with best practice protocols and evidence-based medicine, and in the case of chest pain, this is increasingly important as deviations in diagnosis, care paths, and outcomes are on the rise nationally.
Corazon has long recognized the benefits of accreditation to help drive optimal clinical performance through the alignment of strategies across the program. The impressive short-term results of a CPC accreditation effort include: improvements in chest pain diagnosis and risk-stratification, shortened reperfusion times for ST‐segment–elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), reductions in readmissions, and decreases in costs of care.
Furthermore, several studies have pointed to accredited programs being more likely to meet established standards for process, structural, and procedural domains including:
- Standardization of documentation
- Improved monitoring for radiation, resulting in adoption of best practices and reductions in dosage
- Enhancement of peer review process, resulting in increased engagement of the team
- Overall consistency of care
These are just some of the measureable benefits of CPC program accreditation, many of which will occur immediately following accreditation. Process improvements can and do often impact outcomes in real time. As soon as changes take effect, patient care is changed for the better moving forward. Corazon client data supports this claim.
Accreditation can provide long-term benefits as well. In a recent webinar, Corazon discussed accreditation as a valuable strategic initiative, highlighting benefits that include a competitive edge in the market based on the commitment to a higher standard that accreditation brings. Dedication to providing exceptional cardiac care is a clear indicator of focus on a particular clinical specialty or subspecialty, which can bring halo volumes, improved community perception, and higher patient satisfaction scores based on the care experience.
An accreditation effort can also integrate operations across the functional areas of a program, like a stand-alone or integral CPC. The process intentionally involves and impacts every aspect of the cardiac area, including the cath lab, as a means to heighten overall patient safety and involvement of program stakeholders. Preparing for the accreditation process itself provides an opportunity to evaluate and perhaps improve the program structure itself. Ahead of an accreditation effort is a good time to consider the elimination of departmental silos, streamlining of cross-departmental processes, and integrating cardiovascular services across the entire spectrum.
This “service line” type of operational model covers the entire spectrum cardiovascular care, from front door to discharge and beyond, and thus creates a fully realized team approach to treatment. Certainly, this takes collaboration and engagement of the entire team, including first responders, physicians, and clinicians involved in all steps of care delivery, beginning with the patient presenting with chest pain.
To compete in today’s progressively competitive healthcare market, organizations need to adopt useful strategies in order to differentiate themselves all the while safeguarding the highest standards of quality patient care and safety. Chest Pain Center Accreditation can be THE distinguishing factor that adds substantial (tangible and intangible) value to an organization. A retrospective study from AHA showed that the incidence of major adverse events and all‐cause death was lower after accreditation. So, by aligning with a CPC model and achieving accreditation, consistent process improvement and reductions in variations of care result, leading to efficiencies and maximized reimbursements.
- Fangfang Fan MD , Yuxi Li MD , Yan Zhang MD , Jianping Li MD , Jing Liu MD, PhD , Yongchen Hao PhD , Sidney C. Smith Jr MD , Gregg C. Fonarow MD , Kathryn A. Taubert PhD , Junbo Ge MD, PhD , Dong Zhao MD, PhD , Yong Huo MD firstname.lastname@example.org , and on behalf of the CCC‐ACS Investigators; Chest Pain Center Accreditation Is Associated With Improved In‐Hospital Outcomes of Acute Myocardial Infarction Patients in China: Findings From the CCC‐ACS Project. Journal of the American Heart Association, Volume 8, Issue 21, 5 November 2019 https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.013384
- Weiner B, Dehmer G, Brindis R, et al. “The value of catheterization laboratory accreditation.” Presented at the 2015 Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) Scientific Sessions. May 6-9, 2015; San Diego, Calif. Abstract 13833.