Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Good News/Bad News: Cardio edition

Unlike our unfortunate Neighbors to the North© or Cousins Across the Pond©, our hospitals are setting records for how quickly patients are seen:

"[H]ospitals are treating almost all major heart attack patients within the recommended 90 minutes of arrival, a new study finds. Just five years ago, less than half of them got their clogged arteries opened that fast."

In fact, whereas it took (on average) better than an hour-and-a-half "on line" only 6 years ago, that time was cut by about a third, to just over an hour in 2010. And that's not a one-off, rare occurrence, either:

"Americans who have heart attacks can now be confident that they're going to be treated rapidly in virtually every hospital of the country"

Says whom?

Says Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale. And he should know, since he's the one who led the study that unearthed these terrific findings.

But that's still not the best part. This is:

"[I]t occurred without money incentives or threat of punishment. Instead, the government and a host of private groups led research on how to shorten treatment times and started campaigns to persuade hospitals that this was the right thing to do."

Too bad that this great news will be short-lived.
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