"These Clinical Performance Measures define key healthcare processes for which the supporting evidence is so strong, every patient ought to have the opportunity to receive the treatment," said Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., F.A.C.C., chair of the writing committee, and the Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. "They move us from an arena of recommendations to one of accountability."
Practical and to-the-point, the Clinical Performance Measures are distilled from comprehensive ACC/AHA guidelines on the treatment of patients with two forms of heart attack, ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), terms that reflect differences in electrocardiographic tracings that define each type of heart attack, or myocardial infarction.
The Clinical Performance Measures bridge the gap between knowing what should be done in treating heart attack and putting that knowledge into action, patient after patient, day after day. "Performance Measures are a wake-up call. They allow physicians and hospitals to benchmark themselves and see whether they're adhering to evidence-based recommendations, and if not, to develop systems to improve the quality of healthcare," said Robert O. Bonow, M.D., F.A.C.C., chair of the ACC/AHA Task Force on Performance Measures and the Goldberg Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago.
The new ACC/AHA document was developed in collaboration with representatives from the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Key criteria outlined in the Clinical Performance Measures include:
These criteria conform to measures currently used by the federal government and other organizations to measure healthcare quality and, indeed, represent an endorsement of those measures. The ACC/AHA Clinical Performance Measures go a step further, however, calling for:
By putting the full set of ACC/AHA Clinical Performance Measures into action, physicians and hospitals can improve healthcare quality today and prepare for the future, Dr. Krumholz said. "These performance measures document where we are now in measuring quality, but it's not a static effort," he said. "As science progresses, there will be a continuing need to assess, evaluate, and refine our measures--and to coordinate with other organizations so that we do not create competing sets of performance measures. We are working together to translate the best science into practice and use these tools to assess our progress."
About the American College of Cardiology:
The American College of Cardiology, a 33,000-member nonprofit professional medical society and teaching institution, is dedicated to fostering optimal cardiovascular care and disease prevention through professional education, promotion of research, leadership in the development of standards and guidelines, and the formulation of health care policy.
About the American Heart Association:
Since 1924 the American Heart Association has helped protect people of all ages and ethnicities from the ravages of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers together with other vascular diseases, claim about 930,000 American lives a year. The association invested more than $473 million in fiscal year 2004–05 for research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs so people across America can live stronger, longer lives.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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