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Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

Why Should Organizations Pursue Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) Certification?

By: Natalie Cheng

Hospitals that are looking to build up their stroke centers should look into getting accreditation. The Joint Commission offers four advanced stroke certifications for hospitals:

  • Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) certification is the most demanding and is designed for those hospitals that have specific abilities to receive and treat complex stroke cases.
  • Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center (TSC) certification is designed for hospitals providing endovascular procedures and post-procedural care.
  • Primary Stroke Center (PSC) certification is designed for hospitals providing the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes.
  • Acute Stroke Ready Hospital (ASRH) certification is for hospitals or emergency centers with a dedicated stroke-focused program.

By getting one of these four advanced stroke certifications, hospitals can:

1. Install a framework to standardize care processes. When care is delivered the same way every time, you are taking steps to creating a highly reliable system of care. As an organization, you can be confident in the care provided.

2. Reduce variation. When care is provided uniformly while considering the nuances of the condition, patients experience consistency which can result in higher rates of satisfaction.

3. Lower risk. When care is standardized and provided consistently, you can more easily gain insight into areas for improvement.

Why should hospitals pursue advanced stroke certification?

Having an advanced stroke certification serves as a designation for excellence in the care of stroke patients. Getting certified helps organizations establish a consistent approach to care, reducing variation and the risk of error. In addition, it provides a framework for organizations to improve patient outcomes. Instead of guessing, hospitals can follow proven processes that will health patients as well as the organization as a whole. Hospitals can potentially increase patient volumes as well with refined EMS routing protocols. This will help with organizing teams across the continuum of care and create a loyal and cohesive clinical team, which is something that many hospitals are grappling with as turnover levels have increased during the pandemic.

Hospitals that have an advanced stroke certification demonstrates that the organization is committed to a higher standard of clinical service. This provides a competitive edge in the marketplace and helps support marketing, contracting, and reimbursement. It also helps address the turnover problem mentioned earlier and enhances the facility’s ability to attract top-level talent. Having an advanced stroke certification allows hospitals to strengthen community confidence in the quality and safety of care, treatment, and services that a patient will receive if they choose that hospital.

According to Becker’s, in rural hospitals, adopting a Stroke Ready certification status will help with challenges such as a long transport time to a primary stroke center, lack of access to timely care, lack of emergency services, physicians, and nursing personnel who are trained in acute stroke, limited or no access to diagnostic equipment, and non-existent EMS and hospital protocols.

Attributes of a stroke ready hospital as certified by HFAP include:

  • A stroke team trained in care of the acute stroke patient with a physician coordinator
  • Stroke, lab, and neuroimaging capabilities available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, every day of the year
  • Ability to assess a suspected stroke patient within 15 minutes of arrival
  • Strict adherence to protocols derived from current AHA/ASA guidelines
  • Established benchmarks for care that must be met and sustained over time
  • Ongoing education for EMS providers, stroke program director and team, hospital staff, and the community

Having a framework to improve patient outcomes will also inform efforts for program development along with data management. Overall, pursuing and getting an advanced stroke certification can greatly help hospitals and their patients.

Going Forward

Is your hospital pursuing an advanced stroke certification? Are you able to easily find the information that you need in order to get your hospital certified? If you’re looking for help or advice on how to easily find critical data to get advanced stroke certification or another certification or looking for solutions to improve your healthcare processes, please reach out to us.

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