Heart & Vascular Institute earns highest quality marks for heart bypass surgery
OMAHA, Neb - The Alegent Health Heart & Vascular Institute (HVI) is one of the top heart surgery programs in the nation, receiving three-out-of-three stars for overall quality from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), an organization that compares and rates outcomes for hospitals across the country. The most recent rating is based on outcomes from July 2010 to June 2011 and covers heart bypass surgery quality measures, including pre-operative care, survival rates and lack of complications following surgery.
"This rating puts us in the top 15 percent of all open-heart surgery programs in the nation and validates the approach we’ve taken," said Jeffrey Carstens, M.D., cardiologist and executive medical director for HVI.
Alegent Health formed HVI in 2009, consolidating the open-heart surgery programs at Immanuel Medical Center and Bergan Mercy Medical Center in an effort to improve outcomes for patients.
"Consolidating complex surgery under one roof has allowed us to capture the best aspects of both programs," said Thomas Langdon, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon and director of Cardiovascular Surgery for HVI. "We pulled those pieces together, refined our processes and now have standards that allow us to be more consistent in the care we provide."
The evidence-based care and standardized processes developed by the team at HVI have led to a number of unprecedented outcomes:
- In 2011, every patient who came to HVI for coronary bypass surgery, no matter how sick the patient or complicated the surgery, survived the operation and the following 30 days;
- Patients at HVI recovered quicker than the national average, going home an average of one and a half days earlier;
- Despite a shortened length-of-stay, only 6 percent of HVI patients required re-admission within 30 days of surgery, compared to the national average of 10 percent.
Dr. Carstens explains that every aspect of their program helps to create better outcomes for their patients, "from the pre-operative evaluation to the operating room and from post-operative care to post-discharge follow-up – what we have here isn’t easy to replicate," he said.
Two things that HVI points to as keys to providing the highest quality care are universal beds and post-discharge cardiologist visits:
- The universal bed concept means that rather than moving the patient from one area to the next for care, the care moves around the patient. According to Dr. Langdon, "we’ve found that this method results in reduced medical errors, increased teamwork and greater overall patient satisfaction."
- In the past two years, HVI has cut their readmission rates by more than 60 percent by seeing cardiac surgical patients in the clinic within 72 hours of their hospital discharge. The appointment allows the cardiac team to make sure the patient is following their care plan and gives the patient a chance to ask questions.
"All the pieces have to come together to achieve outcomes like this – everything from the surgeon and surgical team to the men and women who cook our patients’ food or clean their rooms," Dr. Langdon said. "This excellence is only possible through the skill, dedication and teamwork of all the caregivers involved."
For more information on the award-winning cardiac care at the Alegent Health Heart & Vascular Institute, go to Alegent.com/heart or call 1-800-ALEGENT.
With a commitment to providing high-quality care and an exceptional patient experience, Alegent Health, its 1,300 physicians and 8,600 employees are focused on caring for the body, mind and spirit of every person. Patients find a continuum of care at Alegent Health, from primary care through geriatrics. Families can also find specialty care at Alegent Health including women's and children's, cardiovascular, orthopedics, spine, oncology, physical rehabilitation and behavioral health services. With the blessing of our sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel, Alegent Health has ten hospitals, freestanding inpatient psychiatric and skilled nursing facilities and more than 100 sites of service making us the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare provider in Nebraska and southwest Iowa. For more information, visit www.alegent.com.