The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA)’s Accreditation Program for Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers (PHCC) recently recognized the Orlando Health Heart Institute’s Pulmonary Hypertension Program as one of PHA’s Comprehensive Care Centers. The Orlando institute’s program is the second in Florida and among the first 30 hospitals to receive this accreditation in the United States.
“We are honored to provide such an elite and needed service to our community, and are honored by the recognition of the high quality of care our patients receive,” Orlando Health Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. James Tarver, who is also the director of the program, said in a press release. “We’ve built a comprehensive care center from the experience and expertise within our walls, and by reaching outside our institution into to the community. The extensive collaboration with various practices such as rheumatology and lung transplantation in our community helps ensure that patients have access to the specialized care they need.”
The PHA accreditation implies that a program can adequately and comprehensively manage patients who suffer from pulmonary hypertension (PH) across a group of criteria established by PHA’s Scientific Leadership Council and the PHCC Oversight Committee. The program’s mission is to improve outcomes for PH patients, from diagnosis to treatment.
PH is a debilitating rare disease of the lungs that affects the functioning of the heart, and may lead to right heart failure. Currently, it is estimated that 300 new patients are diagnosed each year in the U.S. PH develops when the small arteries, or blood vessels, narrow in the lungs, compromising a proper blood flow and leading to pressure buildup in the heart. Most common symptoms include chest pain, dizziness, fatigue and breathlessness. Available treatment options for PH include oral, inhaled, and infused medications.
“In order to provide our patients with a cohesive healthcare team, we have a unique staff training program,” said PH nurse practitioner and program coordinator, Melisa Wilson, ARNP, who is also a member of the PHA Scientific Leadership Council and the PHCC Oversight Committee. “Our nurses have to successfully complete a six-week course. Providing our pharmacists and nurses with an in-depth understanding of the disease process reduces medication and patient-care errors, which improves patient outcomes. Another unique factor is that we have close collaboration with pharmacy, respiratory therapy, nursing, echo lab, cardiac cath lab, and other departments.”
In addition to providing quality care, PH Care Centers commit to contribute to a PHA national patient registry that tracks diagnostic and treatment patterns, as well as patient outcomes, to help improve practices in patient care.