Minutes matter for stroke victims requiring critical treatment within a specific time frame—from the moment their symptoms begin—in order to be more likely to recover and less likely to have permanent disabilities. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, currently only a small percentage of stroke patients in Missouri get help within the recommended amount of time, oftentimes because they don’t recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke. Research Medical Center, part of HCA Midwest Health—one of the Kansas City region’s leading stroke healthcare providers—recently earned the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association Target: Stroke Honor Roll - Elite award. The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association launched Target: Stroke Phase II in January 2015, naming honorees across the nation based on 2014 quality data. Research Medical Center is the only hospital in the Kansas City area to earn recognition as Stroke Honor Roll – Elite. The goal of Phase II of the Target: Stroke program is to recognize hospitals that continue improving acute ischemic stroke (non-bleeding or non-hemorrhaging type of stroke) care by reducing door-to-needle times for eligible patients being treated with the clot-busting drug t-PA. An Accredited Stroke Center since 2003, Research Medical Center was the first hospital in the Kansas City area to achieve this status.
In addition, Research Medical Center, along with three other HCA Midwest hospitals, is among the first in the state to receive the Missouri Time Critical Diagnosis (TCD) Designation. Research Medical Center received Level I Center TCD Designation, the highest level awarded, which means the hospital functions as a primary resource center within the region, maintaining specialized resources for the most complex patients.
The TCD System, Missouri’s new statewide emergency medical care response system, is designed to help provide a quicker response and higher quality care when a time-critical emergency happens. The system brings together the 9-1-1 response system, ambulance services, and hospitals in a more integrated and coordinated approach to help a greater number of people get to the care they need in order to enhance survival rates and increase a patient’s chance of recovering from trauma, stroke, and heart attack.
“The TCD Designation and the Elite award mean stroke patients diagnosed with blood clotting in the brain at Research Medical Center are being diagnosed efficiently and treated quickly with the most effective clot-busting drug,” says Iftekhar Ahmed, M.D., Medical Director, Research Medical Center Stroke Care. “Quicker treatment offers patients a greater chance of brain preservation, which also means a patient has a better chance of recovery from stroke. In stroke care, lost time is lost brain.”
“The Elite award and TCD designation demonstrate Research Medical Center’s commitment to aggressive, multidisciplinary stroke intervention to offer the best possible outcomes for patients,” says Jackie DeSouza-Van Blaricum, Chief Executive Officer, Research Medical Center. “And the role EMS professionals serve in earning the Stroke Honor Roll - Elite award cannot go unmentioned. It is truly a partnership where EMS first responders begin patient care in the field that helps us more quickly diagnose a blood-clotting type of stroke. This is all about effective and efficient teamwork.”
Research Medical Center has specifically trained staff available 24 hours a day to treat time-sensitive medical emergencies such as stroke. The TCD Designation recognizes the hospital’s interdisciplinary Stroke Team that possess the skills and tools needed to limit damage from a stroke—laboratory tests, blood pressure checks, possible CAT scan and MRI tests, immediate consultation with a Board-Certified physician, and the use of clot-busting drugs such as t-PA. The Stroke Team, comprised of stroke and Board-Certified emergency room physicians, nurses and support services such as lab, radiology and pharmacy, is dedicated to improving patient outcomes.
The TCD System implements four levels of hospital designation across the state, reflecting a range of hospital-based functions within the emergency medical care system. Each hospital plays a vital part in the TCD system, providing timely, definitive care for the best outcomes for survival and recovery. The three other HCA Midwest Health hospitals to receive the TCD Designation include Centerpoint Medical Center and Lee’s Summit Medical Center, Level II Center Designations, and Belton Regional Medical Center, Level III Center Designation.