March 11, 2015 - Leadership Saves Lives Program Aims to Reduce Heart Attack Mortality

View inside of an operating room

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leslie Curry PhD, MPH Senior Research Scientist in and Lecturer in Public Health (Health Policy) Co-Director, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program Yale School of Public Health

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Curry: Quality of care for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has improved substantially in recent years due to important investments by clinicians and policymakers; however, survival rates across U.S. Hospitals still differ greatly. Evidence suggests links between hospital organizational culture and hospital performance in care of patients with AMI. Yet few studies have attempted to shift organizational culture in order to improve performance, fewer have focused on patient outcomes, and none have addressed mortality for patients with acute myocardial infarction.  We sought to address this gap through a novel longitudinal intervention study, Leadership Saves Lives (LSL). We have a large team of people with backgrounds in nursing, medicine, health care administration and research working in 10 very diverse hospitals across the country in 10 states. All hospitals are members of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and are fully committed to saving lives of patients with heart attacks. Teams of 10-12 clinicians and administrators are devoting substantial energy, expertise and good will to this project.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Curry: The main message for clinicians and patients is that reducing mortality from heart attacks is the focus of great attention. We have 10 hospitals across the United States working toward this common goal. A large team has developed an intervention to support hospitals in implementing current evidence about what works, and to support them learning from each other. We are actively learning together about how hospital organizational culture can be changed in order to improve performance on a clinical outcome that matters, and where we know we can do better: mortality of patients with acute myocardial infarction.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Curry: We expect the rich qualitative data from this study to generate many hypotheses about aspects of hospital culture that might support better outcomes for patients with acute myocardial infarction. We hope that others will carry the research forward, to refine and test these ideas in large, national samples of hospitals across the US.

Medical Research