Using "get with the guidelines" to improve cardiovascular secondary prevention

Jt Comm J Qual Saf. 2003 Oct;29(10):539-50. doi: 10.1016/s1549-3741(03)29064-x.


Background: "Get With The Guidelines (GWTG)" was developed and piloted by the American Heart Association (AHA), New England Affiliate; MassPRO, Inc.; and other organizations to reduce the gap in the application of secondary prevention guidelines in hospitalized cardiovascular disease patients. Collaborative learning programs and technology solutions were created for the project.

The patient management tool (pmt): The interactive Web-based patient management tool (PMT) was developed using quality measures derived from the AHA/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines. It provided data entry, embedded reminders and guideline summaries, and online reports of quality measure performance, including comparisons with the aggregate performance of all hospitals.

Learning sessions: Multidisciplinary teams from 24 hospitals participated in the 2000-2001 pilot. Four collaborative learning sessions and monthly conference calls supported team interaction. Best-practices sharing and the use of an Internet tool enabled hospitals to change systems and collect data on 1,738 patients.

Summary and conclusions: The GWTG program, a template of learning sessions with didactic presentations, best-practices sharing, and collaborative multidisciplinary team meetings supported by the Internet-based data collection and reporting system, can be extended to multiple regions without requiring additional development. Following the completion of the pilot, the AHA adopted GWTG as a national program.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking
  • Cardiology Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Education, Distance
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Internet
  • New England
  • Patient Care Management*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Total Quality Management / organization & administration*