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Get With The Guidelines®Stroke

At Baptist, we are committed to following the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines (GWTG)-Stroke measures because the program’s goal is also our goal: to improve outcomes in stroke patients. Baptist’s commitment to excellence in stroke care was recently honored by the AHA/ASA with the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. We were the first hospital system in Texas to achieve that distinction. That’s Baptist Care.

2013 Get With The Guidelines- Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award Release

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Better quality means better outcomes for you.

The Gold Plus award recognizes Baptist’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients by following evidence-based guidelines.

These measures include:

  • Aggressive use of medications, such as antithrombotics and cholesterol reducing drugs
  • Anticoagulation therapy
  • Deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis
  • Smoking cessation counseling.

Each measure is aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

Earning a spot on the clot-busting honor roll.

In addition to the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus award, Baptist is the first hospital system in Texas to earn a place on the AHA/ASA’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for improving stroke care. In order to make the honor roll, at least 50 percent of the hospital’s eligible ischemic stroke patients must receive the clot-busting medicine tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital – also known as ‘door-to-needle’ time.

A thrombolytic, or clot-busting agent, tPA is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability.

Helping patients during a ‘teachable moment’

Get With The Guidelines – Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals’ guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke. 

At discharge, patients receive educational materials based on their individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Get With The Guidelines Patient Management Tool gives healthcare providers access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care. 

“The time is right for Baptist Health System to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing Get With The Guidelines – Stroke. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population,” says Tommye Austin, Chief Nursing Executive of Baptist Health System. 

According to the AHA/ASA, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Nationally ranked and locally trusted for stroke care.


“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the GWTG–Stroke Gold Plus Award demonstrates Baptist’s commitment to being one of the top hospital systems in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” says Graham Reeve, President and CEO of Baptist Health System.

“This is another example of how we are nationally ranked for quality measures, and locally trusted for the care we give,” Reeve says. “We will continue with our focus on providing care that has been shown in the scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols.” 

“Baptist Health System is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” says Dr. Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.” 

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