Erlanger stroke services receive American Heart Association’s Gold Plus Award

Chattanooga, Tenn. – The Erlanger Health System received national recognition from the American Heart Association today for its commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care and ensuring stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted guidelines.

Jim Groover, Director Quality Improvement Initiatives for American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in Georgia and East Tennessee, presented the gold plus certificate from the “Get With The Guidelines” (GWTG) program to the Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center.  The gold plus award is defined as achieving 85% or higher adherence to all GWTG-Stroke indicators for two or more consecutive 12 month and at least 12 consecutive months of 75% or higher compliance with five or more GWTG-Stroke quality measures to improve quality of patient care and outcomes.

“You have achieved not only Gold but Gold Plus,” Mr. Groover told the Erlanger stroke team during the presentation.  “It is not easy to accomplish.  The institutions must take it to an extra level with the plus measures.  It takes a multidisciplinary team from all different levels to make sure everyone is on the same page to be successful.  I know what Erlanger’s capabilities are.  I know the care is second to none.  The community should be very proud of what you have accomplished.”

Currently 14 hospitals in Tennessee participate in the program, all of which are striving to reach the 85th or more percentiles in compliance and quality improvement.  Erlanger’s staff has achieved this success by implementing the acute and secondary prevention guideline processes to improve patient care and outcomes. The GWTG program provides hospitals with a web-based patient management tool, best practice discharge protocols and standing orders, along with a robust registry and real-time benchmarking capabilities to track performance. The quick and efficient use of the guideline procedures improves the quality of care for stroke patients and may reduce disability and save lives.

“Recent studies show that patients treated in hospitals participating in the American Heart Association’s GWTG-Stroke program receive a higher quality of care and may experience better outcomes,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the GWTG National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. “Erlanger’s team is to be commended for their commitment to improving the care of their patients.”

Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center Stroke Program Director, Dr. Tom Devlin, and Associate Stroke Program Director, Dr. Abdelazim Sirelkhatim, accepted the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Gold Plus Award from Jim Groover, Director Quality Improvement Initiatives for American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in Georgia and East Tennessee.

Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center Stroke Program Director, Dr. Tom Devlin, and Associate Stroke Program Director, Dr. Abdelazim Sirelkhatim, accepted the Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Gold Plus Award from Jim Groover, Director Quality Improvement Initiatives for American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in Georgia and East Tennessee.

The Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center is southeast Tennessee’s first and only accredited Primary Stroke Center. Those who experience stroke symptoms and are transported to Erlanger benefit from the availability of a 24/7 rapid-response stroke team, 24/7 neuro-imaging services, the region’s only Neuro Intensive Care Unit, in addition to a team of neuro-interventional radiologists, dedicated stroke center medical director and coordinator, and access to the latest clinical research stroke trials.

About Get With The Guidelines

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations.  For more information, visit www.heart.org/quality.