At Billings Clinic, American Heart Month Is Personal
February is American Heart Month, a signature time to rally people to adopt heart-healthy behaviors and raise awareness for risk factors for heart failure (HF), a disease that accounts for one out of every eight deaths and costs an estimated $30.7 billion.
At Billings Clinic the mission of American Heart Month isn’t just clinical, it’s personal.
Billings Clinic, which offers an in-depth, individualized heart failure (HF) program, desired to reduce its 30-day HF readmission rate and turned to Health Catalyst to create an analytical approach for evaluating and caring for patients with HF, successfully enhancing HF care and improving clinical outcomes. The organization leveraged the Health Catalyst® Data Operating System (DOS™) platform and a robust suite of analytics applications, including the Heart Failure Analytics Accelerator, to access data and analytics more easily.
As a result, the organization successfully improved clinical outcomes, including 37.3 percent relative reduction in the hospital mortality rate for patients with HF and 18.6 percent relative reduction in the HF 30-day readmission rate in one year, with the current readmission rate 13.6 percent lower than the national average.
But the success story at Billings Clinics does not end there, soon one of their own would be on the receiving end of their care. Dr. Randy Thompson, Emergency Medicine Physician at Billings Clinic, had an inkling something wasn’t right when woke up one morning with chest pain.
“I was at home with my family when I woke up to pain on the left side of my chest and shoulder. I’ve had the pain before, but this time it was different and as an emergency physician I was immediately concerned,” said Thompson.
The physician and his wife drove to the emergency department at Billings Clinic for care.
After a few tests and no definitive cause, Thompson was left with more questions than answers. A few days later, Thompson underwent a stress test and a few additional scans. Shortly after an angiogram, doctors were able to identify the cause of his heart event.
“Dr. Alexander “Sasha” Kraev, a cardiovascular surgeon here at Billings Clinic, told me I had multivessel coronary artery disease. Eight of my arteries were narrowed more than 90 percent and six of the eight arteries were narrowed more than 95 percent.” Thompson continued, “As an emergency physician who has cared for many patients experiencing heart failure, the news came as a blow. My profession hasn’t made me immune to the risk factors for heart failure.”
Dr. Thompson underwent quadruple bypass surgery and now serves as walking reminder of the importance of heart health. He encourages others to speak with their doctors about their diet, habits, lifestyle, and other risk factors for developing heart disease and stroke.
“Heart disease is known as the silent killer. Even if you aren’t having symptoms, it’s important to pay attention to your health and know your risk factors for the disease, and February – American Heart Month – is the perfect time to make your heart the priority.” said Thompson.