Stroke Team Honored Again for Quality Care

Oct. 15, 2014 — The St. John Heyman Stroke Center again received highest honors from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association: the Get With The Guidelines® Gold Plus Award, which recognizes consistently high adherence to core treatment guidelines, and the Target: Stroke Honor Roll for door-to-treatment times well below the national average. The Heyman Stroke Center has now received the annual Gold Plus Award for five consecutive years and has been on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll for four consecutive years.

"St. John Medical Center is dedicated to continuously improving the quality of stroke care, and the Get With The Guidelines Stroke program helps us achieve that," said Anna Wanahita, M.D., co-medical director of the Heyman Stroke Center. "These honors demonstrate our commitment to ensuring our patients receive care based on internationally respected clinical guidelines."

AHA/ASA's Get With The Guidelines Stroke program helps medical teams utilize the most up-to-date, research-based protocols and best practices. St. John earned the Gold Plus Award by meeting specific quality-achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. The measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies designed to reduce disability and death. The program also helps teams implement prevention measures, such as educating patients and families on how to manage risk factors, recognize warning signs and take medication properly.

The Target: Stroke Honor Roll honors hospitals that meet measures to reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the "clot-buster" tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), the only drug approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to treat ischemic strokes. People who suffer a stroke and receive the drug within three hours of the onset of symptoms may recover quicker and are less likely to suffer severe disability.

"We are pleased to recognize St. John for its commitment and dedication to stroke care," said Deepak Bhatt, M.D., MPH, national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee, executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham & Women's Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality-improvement measures can reduce patients' length of stay and 30-day readmission rate and reduce disparity gaps in care."

The St. John stroke team will be recognized for their exemplary patient care and formally awarded the Gold Plus Award at the International Stroke Conference in Nashville, Tenn., in February. Additionally, the stroke team will help present the abstract "Oral Care Program Decreases Length of Stay and Length of Time Oral Foods and Fluids are Withheld in Stroke Patients" during the State-of-the-Science Stroke Nursing Symposium portion of the conference.

The Heyman Stroke Center is the first Joint Commission-certified comprehensive stroke center in eastern Oklahoma, a recognition only the top 10 percent of health care providers in the nation receive, reflecting the ability and commitment to treat even the most complex strokes. To learn more about St. John's stroke team, visit or call the St. John PulseLine at 918-744-0123. For more information about AHA/ASA's quality improvement programs, visit

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