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Premier launches clinical initiatives to improve heart attack care and spine

Contact: Ken Inchausti
Premier Corporate Communications
704.733.5586 or


KANSAS CITY, MO (April 3, 2001) – More than 200 healthcare professionals from the
Premier alliance gathered here to build strategies to improve the quality of
healthcare in chronic conditions emerging as threats to the health of an aging

The Clinical Performance Initiative collaborators conference was a continuation of

Premier’s commitment to supporting hospitals’ efforts in improving quality,
enhancing safety, and decreasing costs.

Premier hospitals began a 12-month process to find best practices in acute

myocardial infarction (AMI, or heart attack) care and spine surgery. These
clinical areas were selected, as all clinical focus areas within the Clinical
Performance Initiatives, due to the high cost, high utilization, and high practice

"At Premier, our focus is to make performance excellence consistent within the
clinical setting," said Jack Cox, MD, MMM, senior vice president, Premier Clinical
Innovations. "As America ages, healthcare professionals are going to face an
increasing number of serious conditions. Patient care will improve when healthcare
professionals find new pathways to enhancing clinical quality, safety, and cost."

Details of the new initiatives include:

Heart attack clinical initiative: More than 55 hospitals will be aiming to

decrease the time required to give aspirin, a balloon angioplasty, a cholesterol-
lowering statin drug, or a beta blocker to heart-attack patients. "Door-to-needle"
time – how long it takes for a patient to receive appropriate care after entering
the emergency room – will be no longer than 30 minutes.

Spine surgery clinical initiative: Between 600,000 and 700,000 spine surgical
procedures take place each year in the United States. Post surgical infection
rates, depending on procedure, impact between one and six percent of all patients.
Participating hospitals will aim for providing prophylactic antibiotics within one
hour prior to incision.

Collaboration is key to the success of the initiatives. Over the next 12 months,
hospitals will be sharing milestones, leveraging data derived from Premier
Healthcare Informatics Perspective data set, the nation’s largest clinical data
warehouse, and learning from top performing hospitals from within the Premier
network. This collaborative approach mirrors the breakthrough strategy initially
deployed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a Premier strategic partner.

Presenting their insights to performance improvement in spine surgery was Mission

St. Joseph’s Hospital, a Premier member from Asheville, NC. Highlighted was a
blueprint for how two traditionally competing disciplines – orthopedics and
neurosurgery – found common ground to create a best practice that now treats a
growing aging population.

"Mission St. Joseph’s work illustrates the correlation between quality and cost,"
continued Dr. Cox. "Since they’ve devoted their efforts to improving their
systems, the hospital has become a national leader in performing surgery."

Other conference highlights

Premier hospitals continued their work in improving stroke care, congestive heart
failure treatment, and managing adverse drug events.

In the stroke initiative, hospitals heard from Stanly Memorial Hospital, another
North Carolina medical center. Medical staff created a broad-based awareness
campaign to educate rural residents about the seriousness of stroke. Emergency
department staff, neurologists, and family physicians work in concert to reduce
time to treatment when stroke patients arrive in the hospital. As a result of
their process improvement efforts, Stanly has increased the number of patients
receiving a life-saving clot-busting drug, tPA, to 10 percent of their stroke
patients. The documented national average is four percent.

Bedside technology was central to the adverse drug event update hosted for the 95
participating hospitals. A Premier hospital in the Pacific Northwest placed four
of these computers in the rooms of eight patients who were in a cardiac step down
unit for seven days last year. The computer system, produced by Premier business
partner, Bridge Medical, replaced the patients’ traditional Medication
Administration Record. As doctors issued orders in real time and nurses and
pharmacists followed the orders during the week, the computers issued 250 warning
messages and recorded 105 medical errors.

Congestive heart failure initiative participants heard from Berkshire Medical

Center from western Massachusetts, a facility discharges approximately 300 CHF
patients annually. Using ACE inhibitor and aspirin use, lipid management, smoking
cessation programs, and beta-blocker use as key measures, Berkshire uses a
multidisciplinary task force to ensure that processes are continuously updated to
ensure quality care. Within seven months, demonstrated marked improvement among
physicians to make sure lipid (or blood fat) levels were checked and managed upon
discharge. Also, the number of patients receiving aspirin upon discharge rose
nearly 20 percent within an eight-month time frame.

Upcoming focus areas for the Clinical Performance Initiatives include community
acquired pneumonia, hip and knee replacement, drug utilization, and blood product

About Premier
Premier, Inc., is a strategic alliance in U. S. healthcare, owned by more than 200
of the nation’s leading hospital and healthcare systems. Aggregately, these
systems operate or are affiliated with more than 1,800 hospital facilities in 50
states and hundreds of other care sites. Premier provides an array of resources
supporting health services delivery. Among these resources are comprehensive
supply chain management services, including group purchasing for more than $12
billion annually in supplies and equipment, with e-commerce enablement by Other resources offered by Premier are insurance programs,
performance improvement services of many kinds including healthcare informatics,
clinical technology services, and physician practice management services. Premier
is headquartered in San Diego, Calif., with other major facilities in Chicago,
Ill., and Charlotte, N.C. Advocacy and policy offices are located in Washington,
D.C. For more information, visit

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