The accreditation is given by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), an international not-for-profit organization that focuses on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in creating communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction.
Hospitals that have received SCPC accreditation also emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs which provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. Additionally, they serve as a point of entry into the healthcare system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.
To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, St. Joseph's engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To the community, this means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:
- Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
- Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
- Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital
"We are very proud of this recognition and the work we do. People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that's a mistake," says Lisa Kelly, Senior Director of Cardiology and Thoracic Services at St. Joseph's. "The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don't realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient."