Report Highlights Strategies for Reducing AMI Mortality Rates

A new report on acute myocardial infarction (AMI) suggests that implementing a handful of relatively easy strategies can improve mortality rates.

The research, "Hospital Strategies for Reducing Risk-Standardized Mortality Rates in Acute Myocardial Infarction," highlights several techniques for lowering risk-standardized mortality rates (RSMR) in this patient population:

• Holding monthly meetings to review AMI cases (lowered RSMR by 0.7%);

• Fostering an environment that encourages clinicians to solve problems creatively (lowered RSMR by 0.84%);

• Having 24-hour coverage by cardiologists (lowered RSMR by 0.54%);

• Having both a nurse and physician champion for quality in AMI (lowered RSMR by 0.88%); and

• Avoiding cross-training nurses from ICUs for cardiac catheterization laboratories (lowered RSMR by 0.44%).

Fewer than 10% of the 537 hospitals in the cross-sectional survey reported using at least four of the five strategies. Lead author Elizabeth H. Bradley, PhD, faculty director of the Global Health Leadership Institute and professor of public health at Yale University, says the challenge in implementing the strategies lies in changing the often-obstinate culture of healthcare institutions.

"The root of this is the culture," she says, adding if nothing else, "begin with the problems, begin with an analytical mind when errors occur." Dr. Bradley adds that culture of teamwork works only when it has buy-in from in-the-trenches physicians, such as hospitalists and C-suite executives.

"It has to come from the front line and from the top," she says. "In all of our studies over the last decade, [physicians and administrators] need to be supportive of an environment in which problem solving can happen."

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