How Northeast Georgia Medical Center Impacts Patient Outcomes
For victims of cardiac arrest, time is critical. Northeast Georgia Medical Center needed a tool that would quickly and effectively capture and communicate patient information. Smartsheet provided the help it needed to save more lives.
"Smartsheet complements the care we can give and saves critical amounts of time. Many other hospitals and treatment centers are noticing, asking what we’re doing differently. Smartsheet is one of the first things we show them."
Regional STEMI Coordinator
When someone goes into cardiac arrest, collaboration between the EMS team, Emergency Department (ED), and cardiology staff is vital to their survival.
Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is ranked as the number one cardiology hospital in the state of Georgia and among the top 5 percent in the nation for overall cardiac services. Because of these top ratings, its cardiac team sees more than its fair share of heart attack victims.
“When a heart attack strikes in one of the surrounding 17 counties, ambulances head for our hospital,” says Jason Grady, NGMC’s regional STEMI (an acronym for a severe heart attack) coordinator. “The faster a patient can get to us and one of our world-class cardiologists, the greater his chance for survival. Beyond the need for expedited care, communication is key.”
Traditionally, a verbal system of record from EMS to ED staff to cardiologist was used when a patient was admitted. “Things can get missed or miscommunicated in the fast pace of the ED – inaccurate or incomplete data are detrimental to the patient’s treatment,” Grady says.
Cardiologists need critical information such as whether or not a patient received “bystander CPR;” if so, how long it was performed and/or if a defibrillator was used. By the time the cardiologist starts looking for those details, the paramedics have often left the hospital for another emergency call.
NGMC needed a system that would make it fast and efficient for hospital staff to ask the right questions and for the paramedics to provide thorough answers. Their requirements for the solution were that it be:
Access on the Go
With paramedics aboard an ambulance, nurses moving patients around within the hospital, and cardiologists juggling multiple patients at once, mobility was a necessity. Vital information needed to be at everyone’s fingertips.
Cloud-based and Simple to Use
The hospital needed one centralized, always up-to-date, safe repository for the data that could be easily accessed from anywhere – from the emergency room to the cardiac catheterization lab.
In addition, with ambulances on tight schedules, it was important the tool was easy for the paramedics to quickly fill out.
Smart and Secure Collaboration
Information needed to be gathered in a systemized, streamlined way that adhered to the hospital’s strict HIPAA compliance standards.
“I thought Google could work, but when we looked closely, it fell short of our needs,” says Jeff Clark, RN Educator in NGMC’s Critical Care Unit.
Clark, who has a background in computer software, began researching alternatives and found Smartsheet to be the dynamic, powerful solution that would fill all of their needs and revolutionize communication and patient care.
Straightforward Forms to Gather Information
NGMC’s cardiologists came up with 19 questions that are critical to know about each patient. Clark built out a Smartsheet web form with all of the questions, complete with drop-down boxes with the option to answer “yes” or “no.”
Now when an ambulance arrives at the hospital, paramedics grab an iPad and complete the form — in seconds. Once submitted, the staff and doctors involved in the patient’s care are instantly updated.
“Now, we have a full record of exactly what happened leading up to treatment in the cath lab. It’s amazing,” says Grady.
Instant Alerts for Immediate Action
Alerts are set so the instant a new patient’s information is submitted via web form, an email notification is sent to the cardiac team via Smartsheet. Most often, the cardiologist views this information on their mobile phone on the way to the ED, providing a few extra moments to refine a treatment plan.
Reports for Trend Analysis
Using historical data archived in Smartsheet, hospital staff can look back on past patients and begin to analyze trends. Grady uses reports to pull together certain data points across all of the hospital’s sheets. This powerful information can improve care for future patients with similar situations.
The Future is Bright
This patient treatment data is used for more than immediate treatment. “With Smartsheet, months later we can go back to a chart, compare it to data from a sheet, and learn from what worked,” says Grady. “We have the ability to ask ourselves how we can replicate our success and hone our response systems.”
And the implications extend beyond the ED. “Our data show that about 80 percent of cardiac arrest victims don’t get CPR before paramedics get there,” says Grady.
“From that data point alone, it’s easy to see our community needs to put more effort into public CPR training. Additionally, only 50 percent of patients have access to defibrillators. This data helps us make our case when we apply for grant funding.”