Take heart: a one-on-one peer-based strategy to improve acute coronary syndrome patient care

Crit Pathw Cardiol. 2011 Dec;10(4):164-8. doi: 10.1097/HPC.0b013e318236c330.


Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) result in more than 1 million hospitalizations each year in the United States and are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Despite evidence-based treatment guidelines and advances in therapeutic strategies, the need for well-educated practitioners to provide quality patient care is still evident. As such, continuing medical education (CME) and consultation with recognized experts are valuable tools that can enhance clinical knowledge and lead to improvements in best practices. In a CME platform, collaborative dialogue with nationally recognized opinion leaders within the field of ACS enabled 111 clinician participants to develop strategies for personal practice improvement. Faculty experts addressed specific challenging clinical questions posed by participants regarding 1 of 4 preselected topics related to the care of patients with ACS. After a 3-month period, 94% of participants reported that their strategies for practice improvement had affected patient care. Participants also rated the utility of national guidelines in their practices higher following participation in the activity and demonstrated improved clinical knowledge. As a result of this activity, participants were able to solve self-identified issues in clinical practice as well as improve their understanding of current clinical practice guidelines. Adherence to guideline-recommended care was associated with improvements in patient outcomes, and participant feedback suggests that this was an effective type of CME platform that resulted in positive changes in patient care. Furthermore, considerable interest exists for the application of this model in other therapeutic areas.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Acute Coronary Syndrome* / therapy
  • Critical Care* / methods
  • Critical Care* / organization & administration
  • Critical Care* / standards
  • Education, Medical, Continuing* / methods
  • Education, Medical, Continuing* / organization & administration
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / organization & administration
  • Guideline Adherence / standards*
  • Humans
  • Patient Discharge / standards
  • Patient Selection
  • Peer Review, Health Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality Improvement
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Assessment / standards
  • Staff Development / methods
  • Staff Development / organization & administration
  • Telecommunications / organization & administration
  • United States / epidemiology