AHA Urges Certification Program for CVD, Stroke Care

AHA Presidential Advisory says program needed to standardize, improve quality of care

FRIDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The American Heart Association (AHA) has proposed the development of a national hospital certification program to improve and standardize the delivery of care for cardiovascular disease and stroke. The AHA proposal has been laid out in a Presidential Advisory published online Nov. 12 in Circulation.

Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., of the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues on the AHA's writing group assessed current hospital cardiovascular disease and stroke care; reviewed existing accreditation/certification programs; summarized hospital certification needs-assessment surveys; and then recommended an AHA/American Stroke Association certification to standardize and improve care.

The authors found that most current certification programs involve standard-setting and improvement dimensions but do not require a level of performance for accreditation. Also, hospitals differ widely in the use of key therapies. The AHA advisory recommends instituting a standardized assessment of hospital performance using validated, evidence-based criteria. The certification process would be unbiased; include periodic reassessment; include performance benchmarks; provide distinction to hospitals that achieve high standards; assist hospitals to improve quality of care and outcomes; and include continued research on implementation strategies.

"Our goal is to continue to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent by 2020," Ralph Sacco, M.D., president of the AHA, said in a statement. "To do so we have to make sure hospitals are providing the highest quality care to patients to improve their outcomes."

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