Apr 4 2012

Helping Patients through Collaboration

U-M’s Emergency Department, Cardiac Procedures Unit, and Livingston County EMS partner to fix nationwide EKG problem

Imagine being rushed to the hospital with chest pain, realizing that you’re having a heart attack – only to learn later that the machine monitoring your heart rate did not provide accurate readings. You want someone to fix the problem – as fast as possible.

In the case of some Electrocardiogram (EKG), or heart rate, monitors that fix came by way of a collaboration between U-M’s Emergency Department, Cardiac Procedures Unit (otherwise known as the Cath Lab) and Livingston County Emergency Medical Services.

When these three groups found that several emergency medical services EKG monitors were reporting false positives for heart attacks, they brought the problem to the table: their monthly Acute Myocardial Infarction/Quality Improvement team.

“Getting everyone involved in the process allows us to put the pieces together and ask questions when things are not making sense,” says Michele K. Derheim, MSN, RN, CNML. Derheim is director of Clinical Operations for the Cardiac Procedures Unit. “This is how we first discovered the problem with the monitor – asking questions and getting to the bottom of the problem. By doing so, we were able to raise questions with the manufacturer. They took a look at the problem and discovered our questions had uncovered an issue that needed to be solved.”

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