Get with the Guidelines’ offers support for treating CAD

Health system pharmacists looking for a program to help them manage patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) can consider the "Get with the Guidelines" program, which was initially developed through collaboration between the New England Affiliate of the American Heart Association (AHA) and Merck & Co.

"Get with the Guidelines" is a hospital-based discharge program designed to close the treatment gap in cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention, says information provided by the AHA. It is designed to be a rapid-cycle, continuous quality improvement initiative for hospitalized patients who have had a coronary event.

If the AHA guidelines are implemented at least 80% of the time, the program is estimated to be able to save more than 40,000 people annually, the organization says.

The program focuses on building consensus among a hospital team, identifying a program "champion" to drive the program, and implementing discharge protocols that include medications and lifestyle modifications.

The program can improve care by:

  • Identifying, developing, and mobilizing hospital teams.
  • Reviewing existing care maps and discharge protocols for agreement with American Heart Association (AHA) prevention guidelines.
  • When appropriate, developing and implementing appropriate new guideline-based care maps and discharge protocols.
  • Focusing on the discharge protocols used by the hospital care team to ensure patients are discharged with appropriate medication prescriptions and risk-modification counseling.
  • Interpreting the results achieved through program implementation by assessing hospital records regarding patient discharge information. The AHA recommends using the data management tool developed specifically for the "Get with the Guidelines" program.