Timeliness of Care

Measures that demonstrate the timeliness of care show how often or quickly hospitals give recommended treatments known to get the best results for people with certain common conditions. This information can help patients and the community compare which hospitals give recommended treatments in the most effective timeframe as part of their overall care.

Timeliness Measure at Froedtert Hospital

Many processes at Froedtert Hospital are monitored to ensure that they are consistently performed within the optimal window of patient care. Procedures for treating heart attack, known as percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs), are among the most critical. Studies show that performing these procedures within 90 minutes of arrival at the hospital greatly reduces heart damage and increases the odds of survival. What percentage of patients at Froedtert Hospital receives PCI in 90 minutes or less as compared with other hospitals? See the chart below.

Primary PCI Within 90 Minutes of Arrival

What the Data Shows

In all cases, the higher the score the better. The graph shows that last year 100 percent of Froedtert Hospital heart attack patients received appropriate PCI treatment within 90 minutes of their arrival at the hospital. For the past two years, Froedtert’s performance in this area is better or equal to state and national averages.

Constantly Improving Care

At Froedtert Hospital, we believe quality is an output of operational excellence. It’s one of our many tenets of quality improvement. As the PCI chart shows, our performance in 2010 was below the averages and not acceptable for our patients. Changing the way we provide care was imperative.

Knowing there are many steps involved in treating heart attack patients, a team led by cardiac specialists and department administrators set out to determine how to do each step better. We reviewed our processes for receiving patients in the Emergency Department, ordering diagnostic tests, interpreting test results to make a diagnosis, determining the best course of treatment, sharing information with the patient and family, transporting the patient to the cardiac catheterization laboratory, preparing the patient and performing the interventional procedure.

This review and the resulting improvements dramatically improved our ability to get patients from the ambulance to the cath lab in the best-practice time of 90 minutes or less. But, we won’t stop there, since another of our tenets of quality improvement at Froedtert Hospital is forging past benchmarks to bring our patients the absolute best performance.

More About PCI

Common PCI procedures include angioplasty, when a balloon is inflated to open the blood vessel; stenting, when a small wire tube called a stent is placed in the blood vessel to hold it open; and atherectomy, when a blade or laser is used to cut through and remove the blockage.

Why is it so important to perform a PCI in 90 minutes or less? Blood vessels in the body supply the heart with oxygen. If a blood clot develops, it can block the blood vessels and rob the heart of oxygen, causing heart muscle damage (what we commonly call a heart attack). The faster blood flow is restored to the heart muscle, the less damage is done and the better the odds of surviving the heart attack and surviving without lifestyle-limiting complications. PCI procedures like angioplasty, stenting and atherectomy are some of the most effective ways for cardiologists to open blocked blood vessels and restore blood flow to the heart. Learn more about angioplasty, stents and atherectomy procedures at the Heart and Vascular Center.