More safety in the treatment of acute cardiac emergencies
The German Society of Cardiology (DGK) recently presented six new apps at its annual conference to help with acute cardiac diseases. The apps were developed strictly according to the current treatment guidelines and are quick and easy to use. The apps are designed to provide better and more accurate treatment for multiple acute heart conditions, including the hallmark of acute chest pain, ST elevation myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome, cardiogenic shock due to infarction, acute aortic syndrome, and pulmonary artery embolism.
The apps have been optimized for hospital use. As soon as one of these emergencies occurs, doctors can be guided step by step through the critical stages of emergency treatment. This should guarantee an exact adherence to the guidelines. Many studies have shown that strict adherence to guidelines has a significant impact on the quality of treatment.
“We are sure that we can contribute to more safety and better treatment outcomes for acutely ill patients”, reports Prof. Dr. med. Martin Möckel in the press release of the DGK. Concrete event process chains based on valid guidelines are the backbone of the apps. According to Möckel, it has often been difficult to accurately translate the guidelines into concrete work situations. The approach of the app is to bring the quality given in the guidelines in a realistic, easy-to-understand and comprehensible form for everyone.
Prof. Dr. Peter Radke continues: “In the medical industry digital orientation aids are still rather the exception.” The use of a mobile phone was still a few years ago an absolute taboo in the hospital. Many physicians have been of the opinion that the use of a mobile phone could disturb the sensitive devices.
According to Radke, this skeptical approach to modern communication options has led to the fact that there are currently guidelines from 177 medical societies throughout Germany, of which only 15 are available in interactive form. This is the reason why the DGK founded its own working group “Task Force, Medical Apps”.
The developed apps are referred to as Clinical Decision Support Tools (CDS Tools). With these tools, the DGK is breaking new ground in medicine because, according to Radke, they are the first digital aids based on clear, generally accepted and, above all, published rules. In addition, they would work on an individualized patient basis, consider parallel processes, and add the entire patient documentation decision-making process.
In air traffic, checklists on safety-relevant work steps are already essential. The new apps now want to establish similar checklists for the acute treatment of heart disease such as a heart attack. The checklists allow quick and clear queries to provide an overview of which patients are at particular acute risk and which processes need to be initiated and when.
“Treatment of patients with acute cardiac diseases oriented towards the guidelines of specialist societies leads to better results,” explains Prof. Möckel. It is well known that compliance with hospital guidelines can be very different. According to Möckel many places are in need of improvement. The use of the apps brings an improvement in the guideline fidelity and consequently also the clinical results in the cardiology care.
Professor Möckel refers to numerous studies that show that meticulous compliance with guidelines has a decisive influence on the quality of treatment. As an example, he cites a large study with around 40,000 patients, which establishes a clear link between high guideline loyalty and a low mortality rate.
“We sincerely hope that the digital help available soon will be widely adopted,” said Möckel. Finally, the recently presented Digitization Report of the German Medical Association shows that every second doctor wants the rapid dissemination of medical knowledge by digital means, with digital solutions for guidelines being number one among more than 600 physicians surveyed.