Thursday, July 19, 2012

'What we've got here is failure to communicate'

Famous "Cool Hand Luke" quote: "What we've got here is failure to communicate."

That movie came out in 1967. But even now, we've still got failure to communicate - not in fiction, but in real life. Sometimes with deadly outcome. A recent article from MedlinePlus tells us that hospitals are often not alerted about incoming stroke patients
In the studies, researchers examined about 372,000 cases of acute ischemic stroke (caused by a blocked blood vessel to the brain) between 2003 and 2011. The patients were taken by ambulance to one of nearly 1,600 hospitals participating in a quality improvement program -- called "Get with The Guidelines-Stroke" -- launched by the heart/stroke associations.

One study, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes, found that when EMS alerted hospitals about incoming stroke cases, the patients were diagnosed and treated more quickly. Fast diagnosis and treatment is critical because certain clot-busting drugs have to be given within 3 to 4.5 hours after the onset of stroke symptoms to be effective, according to the study."

But a second study found that EMS pre-notification of stroke patients happened in only 67 percent of stroke cases in 2011, a slight increase from 2003 when hospitals were notified in about 58 percent of cases. That study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Despite national guidelines recommending pre-notification by EMS for acute stroke patients, it's disappointing that there's been little improvement," the senior author of both studies, Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in an American Heart Association news release. "However, with these powerful new findings demonstrating substantial benefits with pre-notification, we have a tremendous opportunity to make positive changes in this component of stroke care."
So - when communication happens, we get better treatment. However, most of the time, that communication doesn't happen. That must change.


Linda said...

I like the clip.

You are so right. Communication about stroke symptoms, communication about recovery steps and how to get help after the the stroke also fall into the same issue of poor communication.

Jeff Porter said...

I've always liked the movie, and with the news out about missing communication, I couldn't resist finding the clip! And your comment is very on target.