First-Responder Recognition Program Brings Together Lake County Agencies to Improve Patient Outcomes

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Since its start in 2014, AdventHealth Waterman’s STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infraction ) Star Program has recognized approximately 660 first-responders in the STEMI network for achieving exemplary care for patients experiencing a heart attack. The program, the first of its kind in Central Florida, recognizes individuals across multiple agencies that help ensure STEMI patients receive treatment in less than 90-minutes the national standard of care. The program was initially developed to recognize hospital team members, but has since been expanded to include multiple outside agencies recognizing the vital role they play in improving treatment times, including: Lake Emergency Medical Services (including dispatch), Tavares Fire Department, Mount Dora Fire Department, Eustis Fire Department and now Lake County Fire Rescue.

Oftentimes, fire personnel can be the first on the scene of a 911 call, says John Jolliff, Lake County Public Safety Director. "The certificates provided by the STEMI Star Program detail valuable feedback about the outcomes from these emergency situations. Our agency is excited to join the program alongside our EMS, hospital and municipal fire department partners."

Heart attacks are categorized by severity, STEMI being the most serious. When a person is experiencing a STEMI, blood flow from the coronary artery is completely blocked from reaching a large section of the heart and the muscle begins to die. An electrocardiogram (ECG) test, performed by the first-responder on the scene, is used to determine the severity of the heart attack and is the first step in the activation of the STEMI team across the network. The results of the ECG are wirelessly transmitted to the Emergency Department at AdventHealth Waterman so that the hospital can begin preparing for the patient long before they reach the hospital.

Our relationship with EMS and other first-responders is an integral part of consistently achieving seamless, coordinated care for our patients during a cardiac emergency, says Pamela Patterson, Cardiopulmonary Manager, AdventHealth Waterman. AdventHealth Waterman is North Lake County’s first and only Accredited Chest Pain Center, demonstrating national standards of care and expertise in the treatment of heart attacks.

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicare Services, AdventHealth Waterman is among the top ten percent of hospitals nationally and the highest in the region for meeting the national standard of a 90-minute or less door-to-balloon time.

The program is successful not only because of the recognition, but it helps to build teamwork among the entire network, reinforce expectations and gives the team a sense of accountability, says Jerry Smith, Lake Emergency Medical Services Executive Director.

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