The Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE), formerly The Arizona Quality Alliance, today named Scottsdale Healthcare as a 2013 Showcase in Excellence Award winner for the hospitals’ heart attack care process, “Door to Balloon – 60 is the New 90.”

Lowering Door to Balloon (DTB) times helps improve the timeliness of lifesaving therapy for patients with heart attacks who seek care at hospitals that perform emergency angioplasty.

National guidelines target a time of 90 minutes or less from the time a patient enters the ER to receiving balloon angioplasty in a hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab. Scottsdale Healthcare was recognized for improving its performance above and beyond the national target for 100% of patients for the past 16 months.

“This is both impressive and important. It’s about saving lives and improving the quality of life for many people. I’m proud of the teamwork and dedication, and pleased to see it get this kind of recognition,” said Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network President Rhonda Forsyth.

The award follows a recent site visit from Southwest Alliance for Excellence examiners who toured Scottsdale Healthcare hospitals to assess Door-to-Balloon care for heart attack patients.

“They learned about well-coordinated, efficient care that moves heart attack patients rapidly from the ambulance through the Emergency Department and into the cardiac cath lab to open the blocked artery,” said Cheralyn Beaudry, chief quality & patient safety officer for Scottsdale Healthcare.

Examiners heard from the entire team of physicians, nurses, ancillary staff, PBX operators, EMS professionals, service line leaders and quality and lean experts describing how they implemented improvement methods and tools, including A3 thinking, PDSA, standard work, process mapping and process walks, key metrics of performance for each stage of patient care, and ongoing cycles of improvement, according to Beaudry.

Door-to-Balloon times of less than 90 minutes for 100% of patients have been sustained for 16 months now,” explained Beaudry. “With a stated stretch goal of ‘60 is the new 90,’ this team also improved performance above and beyond the national target of less than 90 minutes to complete the DTB process in 60 minutes or less for 50% of cases in the past 12 months,” she said.

“Our DTB team is saving lives, and patients are able to return to a life with more functional potential than was previously possible without this timely evidence-based care,” said Beaudry.  “This is a wonderful example of achieving our mission to provide the highest quality and most compassionate care for all individuals.”

The American College of Cardiology  and the American Heart Association (AHA) state that hospitals treating heart attack patients with emergency angioplasty should reliably achieve a door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes or less. However, accomplishing this level of performance can be an organizational challenge.

“When treating myocardial infarction, every moment that can be saved is critical because it keeps a portion of the patient’s heart muscle from dying due to a lack of oxygen,” says cardiologist Alan Tenaglia, MD. “As we always say, time is muscle.”

SWAE’s annual Performance Excellence Program recognizes organizations for excellence in quality, performance and outcomes.  The program, modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige Award criteria, provides not only an opportunity for recognition, but also valuable feedback on where an organization is positioned on the quality continuum.

Receiving a Showcase in Excellence Award is recognition for specific process excellence, demonstrating innovation, cutting-edge approach, excellence in comparison to peers or overall exceptional performance.

Awards will be presented Feb. 4, 2014 at the Chaparral Suites Resort in Scottsdale.

The Southwest Alliance for Excellence is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that advances improvement and excellence in organizations, communities and individuals throughout Arizona, Nevada and Utah. The SWAE is administered by a professional staff under the leadership and guidance of its members and elected Board of Directors. The SWAE is also a member of the Alliance for Performance Excellence, a national network of state
programs that advance improvement in organizations by using the Baldrige Criteria.