New Get With The Guidelines Paper Highlights Program Impacts for Policy Makers

Updated:Nov 7,2013
On October 28, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association released, “Synthesizing Lessons Learned from Get With The Guidelines: The Value of Disease Based Registries in Improving Quality and Outcomes” in Circulation.  The paper reviews the 200+ articles published on the program and distills their findings into themes relevant to federal healthcare reform discussions.  According to its lead author, Dr. Gray Ellrodt, “As Congress focuses more on Medicare payment reform, programs with a demonstrated track record like Get With The Guidelines can offer innovative ways to improve treatment and provide the quality health care that all Americans deserve.”
The paper also points out specific examples of how the program has fed data back into the system in order to improve care for patients.  For example, the program’s Heart Failure registry was used to examine early follow-up with patients after they left the hospital. The study revealed that patients discharged from hospitals with the lowest early follow-up rate had the highest 30-day readmission rate. To combat this, the information was used to promote efforts to follow-up with heart patients shortly after discharge.  In another instance, program researchers discovered a substantial underuse of implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD) in women and black patients who could benefit from the treatment, compared to white men. To address this gap, Get With The Guidelines focused educational efforts on the importance of ICD placement in all eligible patients. From 2005 to 2009, this strategy brought about a significant increase in the use of ICD therapy in patients needing it, eliminating these care disparities.  Additionally, a pivotal Get With The Guidelines report identified huge hospital variation in the number of stroke patients who received the clot-busting drug t-PA within one hour of arriving at the hospital. In response, Get With The Guidelines has initiated “Target Stroke” to achieve the 60-minute timeframe for 50 percent of the patients in 1,200 participating hospitals.

The paper may be accessed  at:

Lessons Learned: Get With The Guidelines PDF