Ingalls remains one of few accredited Chest Pain Centers in Chicago’s Southland

UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial (Harvey, IL) was recently reaccredited as a Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), maintaining its commitment to high-quality care for the Southland’s heart patients.

Initially accredited in early 2016, Ingalls is the first Chest Pain Center under the University of Chicago Medicine system. Amy Helmer, Patient Care Manager of the Cardiac Cath Lab and Interventional Cardiology, said the hospital was held to more rigorous standards during the accreditation process last year, achieving its certificate in December.

Accredited Chest Pain Centers like Ingalls offer a higher level of expertise in treating patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 630,000 people dying annually of heart disease, according to the CDC.

Using an evidence-based, protocol-driven and systematic approach to care, accredited centers hasten lifesaving treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack. Accredited Chest Pain Centers also better monitor patients when it’s not clear if they are having an actual coronary event.

Helmer said hospital staff took an incredibly comprehensive look at every process to streamline and standardize procedures from the onset of chest pain through a patient’s discharge and recovery. 

Several of the more than 290 stringent requirements Ingalls met for accreditation include achieving time requirements for administering tests like an EKG, creating an observation unit to more efficiently diagnose patients, reporting feedback to EMS providers on cardiac patient care and continuing education for clinicians in other departments of the hospital. 

Dr. Ripple Doshi, interventional cardiologist and Chest Pain Center Director, said the accreditation holds hospital staff to a higher standard. “It’s a nice validation tool to insure we’re doing all the right things,” he said. For patients, the accreditation is a promise to treat them with the best possible care.

“When they come in to a Chest Pain Center, patients should take comfort in knowing that they are getting the best quality treatment exceeding high national standards,” Doshi said.

Accreditation goals also include community outreach; educating the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reducing the time it takes to receive treatment and increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.