Key Research in Quality

Quality Research, It's how we know what works

One of the strengths of the healthcare quality programs from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association is that their impact can be measured. In part, that's because our programs compile treatment measures and health outcomes from millions of inpatient hospital stays. Thanks to the massive amount of data, researchers are able to perform conclusive scientific studies, backed by the power of statistical reliability.

What have we learned from the research?

The short answer is: more than we can possibly share here. Since the launch of the first hospital-based American Heart Association/American Stroke Association healthcare quality program in 2001, leading medical and scientific journals have published more than 245 articles, papers and abstracts based on program-related research.

Research findings underline program benefits.

While the studies cover a wide range of topics, conclusions demonstrate the value of American Heart Association/American Stroke Association healthcare quality programs, over and over again. Recurring big-picture themes include:

  • Participating hospitals follow evidence-based treatment guidelines more consistently.
  • Participating hospitals have reduced levels of healthcare disparity and produced fewer gaps in treatment quality.
  • 30-day patient readmission rates (returning to the hospital for the same problem) are lower at participating hospitals.

Five findings that matter to you.

Research results based on data from American Heart Association/American Stroke Association healthcare quality programs can be valuable to everyone, not just medical professionals and scientists. Here are a few examples of findings you should know about.

  1. The sooner stroke patients arrive at the hospital, the more likely they are to receive and benefit from clot-busting drugs.
  2. Quality of care for heart attack tends to be lower (and mortality is higher) among women and patients younger than 45. Likewise, quality of heart failure care tends to be lower for Hispanics. AHA/ASA quality programs reduce the disparities.
  3. Smoking-cessation counseling, often overlooked in treating heart disease and stroke patients, is more frequently offered in hospitals that participate in AHA/ASA quality programs.
  4. The number of regional systems for coordinating heart attack care has increased since the American Heart Association launched the Mission: Lifeline® program. Likewise, the time from heart attack patient arrival to angioplasty (a procedure for opening blocked arteries) has become significantly shorter.
  5. Survival rates among patients who suffer cardiac arrest while in the hospital have improved substantially at hospitals that participate in the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines®-Resuscitation program.