More than 5 million treated in AHA national quality improvement program

July 10, 2014 Categories: Program News

DALLAS, July 10, 2014 — The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines® quality improvement program reached two milestones this month, touching the lives of more than 5 million patients, including more than 3 million people who had strokes. The program has helped hospital teams with tools and resources to meet the latest research-based clinical guidelines for heart and stroke care.

“The incredible number of patients that have been treated in these programs offer us a wealth of information that contributes to research, which ultimately helps to improve their care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee, executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“Using this information, research studies have confirmed that there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program, and this accomplishment demonstrates the power of translating evidence-based care into user-friendly tools for healthcare providers,” he said.

The American Heart Association launched Get With The Guidelines in 2000 to help ensure the heart and stroke care patients receive is in line with the latest research-based guidelines. Studies show that consistent application of these programs can lead to better recoveries and lower risks of ending up back in the hospital.

More than 2,200 hospitals participate in Get With The Guidelines, with at least one in every state and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Improving outcomes

The association created the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke module in 2003. Participating hospitals can also use Target: Stroke, an initiative designed to reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the only FDA-approved treatment for ischemic stroke: the clot-busting drug IV tPA. More than 100,000 stroke patients have received tPA since the program began, resulting in fewer deaths and disability.

The association also has modules for atrial fibrillation, heart failure, resuscitation and Action Registry®-GWTG. Each module functions as a registry, tracking and measuring patient treatments and outcomes. These registries also provide a way to evaluate, recognize and provide patients with information about hospitals awarded for their performance. Hospitals can achieve different levels of achievement by consistently following the guidelines.

Identifying and addressing gaps in care

“Our vast database has made a major impact in reducing disparities in care as well as reducing hospital readmission rates,” Bhatt said. “For example, Get With The Guidelines research has demonstrated the impact of beta blocker therapy in shortening hospital stays, lowering 30-day readmissions and reducing mortality rates among older Medicare patients.

“Research studies are driving results in evidence-based medicine, and published findings from more than 280 studies based on Get With The Guidelines are making major contributions to the future of heart disease and stroke care.”


Additional Resources:

  • To learn more about Get With The Guidelines and other American Heart Association/American Stroke Association initiatives, visit Get With The Guidelines website.
  • To find award-winning Get With The Guidelines hospitals near you, visit the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Quality Map.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at

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