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CHI St. Vincent Adopts Advanced Communication System for Heart Attack, Stroke and other Trauma Patient Care

CHI St. Vincent became the first health system in Arkansas to implement the full suite of Pulsara communication capabilities for coordinated teams to dramatically improve responses for every patient type, including ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) heart attacks, stroke and other trauma care scenarios. Pulsara is a telehealth and communication platform that enables HIPAA compliant, dynamic networked communications between EMS, hospitals and other healthcare providers for any patient event. Following successful Arkansas trials at multiple hospitals that saw average Door-to-Device treatment time for STEMI patients reduced by 19-percent, allowing cardiologists to get patient blood vessels reopened faster, the Arkansas STEMI Advisory Council proposed that healthcare services begin adopting Pulsara statewide in April 2020.

“This is a major step forward in resolving barriers to patient care, especially for patients suffering from this very serious type of heart attack, a leading cause of death in Arkansas,” said CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute Cardiologist Dr. Aravind Rao, who served as chair of the Arkansas STEMI Advisory Council for 2018 and 2019. “In these life or death situations, every moment counts. Now this unified communications stream that begins before patients reach the hospital with EMS and allows our emergency teams to begin diagnosing and preparing to receive the patient properly long before they reach our door will allow us to save even more lives.”

CHI St. Vincent is working to set the precedent of using all of the patient care and coordination resources available through Pulsara, not only those focused on STEMI care. The telehealth and communications platform allows ambulance services and hospitals to create multi-disciplinary, coordinated teams focused on a patient’s care. Among other capabilities, the mobile technology allows dynamic, on-the-fly communication between any member of the care team regardless of their location or the organization for which they work. Pulsara also enables live video calling for medical teams to observe a patient in the field and real-time updates that are HIPAA compliant so that when one person updates blood pressure or provides ECG data from the field, everyone on the team sees it at once.

“Prior to Pulsara, a text or a page was the only communication most of our team would receive, not even a patient name due to HIPPA compliance. Now every communication is laden with information, including contact numbers, audio and visual recordings, snapshots of EKGs and messaging ability,” said CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute AMI Quality Management Coordinator DeeDee Moline, BSN, RN, who also serves on the Arkansas STEMI Advisory Council. “This now allows us to ask questions and communicate as a unified and informed team quickly and effectively. This level of advanced communication significantly improves the level of care for patients suffering an acute heart attack. We quickly realized the value and implications of this coordination can reach far beyond our heart patients alone.”

The full adoption of the Pulsara telehealth and communications technology is part of CHI St. Vincent’s ongoing commitment to improving patient care and outcomes for all Arkansans, including access to the latest technology, advanced techniques and treatments. U.S. News & World Report recognized CHI St. Vincent Infirmary as the best hospital in Arkansas for cardiology and heart surgery in its 2020–21 Best Hospital Rankings. The CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute also recently received two different three star ratings for patient care and outcomes from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the highest category of quality the system bestows.