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Coordinated Emergency Response Effort Beneficial for Patients

Update Date: Nov 25, 2014 09:40 AM EST

Coordinated emergency response effort modeled after a program that began at Duke Medicine to speed up heart attack appears to have saved lives, according to a new study. 

It was recently applied to more than 23,000 patients in regions across the United States.

This STEMI ACCELERATOR study represents the largest-ever regional effort to improve the care of heart attack patients treated by 484 hospitals and 1,258 EMS agencies. The project covered 16 cities-including New York, Atlanta, Tampa and Houston-representing roughly 10 percent of the U.S population, a press release said. 

"The key to success in these types of efforts is getting all these groups working in a coordinated way to provide care quickly," said Christopher Granger, M.D., director of the coronary care unit at Duke University Medical Center and senior author of a study about the Mission: Lifeline effort, in a press release. 

"One of our mantras has been 'If you don't measure it, you can't improve it,'" said James Jollis, M.D., an adjunct professor at Duke who now practices at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, and is a co-leader of the Mission: Lifeline project. "So we have worked to help determine how long it takes for a person who is having a heart attack in the community to get definitive care. In the past, this has not been measured. From the baseline established with this study, we saw improvement in overall time measurements, and substantial improvements in some regions to meeting guideline goals."

The findings were presented at a late-breaking session of the AHA's Scientific Sessions 2014 meeting in Chicago.

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