October 7, 2008

Depending on the Time of Day, Cardiac Patients Spend Too Much Time Waiting for Life-Saving Procedures

An analysis of clinical data from 90 hospitals across the nation showed that during certain parts of the day, wait times for cardiac catheterization procedures significantly exceed the recommended standard of 90 minutes. The data analysis research was performed by VHA Inc., the national health care alliance.

According to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, the benchmark door-to-balloon time -- the time between arrival at the hospital ED and having a balloon catheter inserted into a blocked artery -- should be 90 minutes or less. However, VHA's research showed that hospitals in the study had door-to-balloon times that didn't always meet this benchmark. This was particularly true between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., when the average time nearly doubled to 174.43 minutes and between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., when it was 106.68 minutes.

VHA captured this data through its proprietary cardiac cath lab software CathSource(R). Recently, VHA rolled out a new tool, the Cardiac Performance Dashboard(TM) that will allow hospitals to review their own performance data in real time, up to the most recent procedure performed. VHA's Cardiac Performance Dashboard analyzes information collected by CathSource(R).

"Normally, hospitals are looking at case data that is several months old, meaning they aren't catching operational or clinical problems as soon as they begin to occur," said Patricia Tyson, RN, MSA, vice president for Clinical Specialty Services at VHA. "By using the Dashboard, these problems will be immediately evident; giving hospital personnel the insight they need to take immediate corrective action."

In 2007, hospitals nationwide spent more than $21.5 billion on interventional cardiology and cardiac rhythm management devices to perform more than one million cath lab procedures. Accurately analyzing cardiac catheterization lab performance data is essential, since cath labs generate a significant portion of hospital revenues and expenses.

The Cardiac Performance Dashboard enables hospitals to compare their cardiac programs to national best practices for comprehensive oversight for 49 parameters, including:

 --  Cost per procedure --  Utilization of specific devices --  Turnaround time for cath labs between procedures --  Length of patient stay --  Infection rates --  Procedure results --  Patient profiles to measure severity --  Variation in process and supply usage by physician      

VHA is marketing its CathSource tool and Cardiac Performance Dashboard to all hospitals in the U.S. Typically, it takes less than one year to recoup that investment based on the savings generated by reduced costs, increased efficiencies and improved outcomes.

For a demonstration of the Cardiac Performance Dashboard please visit http://www.vha.com/cardiacperformancedashboard.

About VHA - VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national alliance that provides industry-leading supply chain management services and supports the formation of regional and national networks to help members improve their clinical and economic performance. With 16 offices across the U.S., VHA has a track record of proven results in serving more than 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals and more than 23,000 non-acute care organizations nationwide.

 Media Contacts Lynn Gentry 972/830-0798 Email Contact  Jenn Riggle 757/640-1982   ext 25 Email Contact