September 27, 2021

Our hospitals have heart

The American Heart Association recognizes Kaiser Permanente hospitals for being among the nation’s best for the care and treatment of heart failure and stroke patients.

One innovative Kaiser Permanente program helps people with heart disease complete cardiac rehab from the comfort of home.

Heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death, claiming nearly 19 million lives each year.

At Kaiser Permanente, we’re doing our part to reduce the devastating impact of these afflictions. Our care teams follow best practices in treating patients, and we’re constantly coming up with new ways to improve the care we provide.

Our efforts are getting noticed, this time by the American Heart Association, which recently recognized us as a national leader in consistently delivering high-quality care.

Getting with the guidelines

For 2021, all 39 Kaiser Permanente hospitals were honored with the American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. In addition, 22 Kaiser Permanente hospitals received the association’s Get With The Guidelines Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

The American Heart Association annually recognizes hospitals across the nation that are committed to using the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines grounded in the latest scientific evidence. The goal is speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients and reducing hospital readmissions for heart failure patients.

“By using the latest evidence-based treatment protocols and focusing on prevention, we are improving patient care outcomes and saving lives every day,” said Andrew Bindman, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Kaiser Permanente. “This recognition shows how we are leading the way in delivering world-class health care to the patients and members we serve.”

Our heart care in action

One way we’re successfully innovating to reduce the effects of heart disease is with our virtual cardiac rehabilitation program. Patients in the program go home from the hospital after experiencing heart trauma, but they don’t go home alone. Instead, they wear a fitness tracker that allows their care teams to remotely monitor their physical activity and heart rate.

“We’re able to monitor patients’ steps, monitor their heart rates, and all that information is being analyzed by our nurse case managers,” explained Chileshe Price, MD, a cardiologist with Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. “They reach out to the patients on a weekly basis and guide them through those critical steps after a cardiac event to bring them healing and recovery.”

Rehab programs that encourage healthy behaviors to reduce the risk of additional cardiac events are widely available, but few patients enroll in programs outside their homes. Nationally, fewer than 5 out of 10 patients complete their hospital-based cardiac rehab programs while more than 8 out of 10 participants complete the Kaiser Permanente program.

Take care of your heart

World Heart Day is September 29, and it’s a good reminder that you can take steps to reduce your risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

Increasing your physical activity, choosing a healthy diet — one includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and limits sweets and red meats — and quitting smoking, if you smoke, can prevent at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

For heart and stroke events that can’t be avoided, Kaiser Permanente will keep innovating to ensure we continue to provide all our patients with high-quality care. Learn how our fast stroke treatment saves lives and how our integrated care model returned a member to health after a life-threatening heart attack.