BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Rapid access to acute stroke treatment improves clinical outcomes in patients with ischemic stroke. We aimed to shorten the time to admission and to acute stroke treatment for patients with acute stroke in the Hamburg metropolitan area by collaborative multilevel measures involving all hospitals with stroke units, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and health-care authorities.
METHODS: In 2007, an area-wide stroke care quality project was initiated. The project included mandatory admission of all stroke patients in Hamburg exclusively to hospitals with stroke units, harmonized acute treatment algorithms among all hospitals, repeated training of the EMS staff, a multimedia educational campaign, and a mandatory stroke care quality monitoring system based on structured data assessment and quality indicators for procedural measures. We analyzed data of all patients with acute stroke who received inhospital treatment in the city of Hamburg during the evaluation period from the quality assurance database data and evaluated trends of key quality indicators over time.
RESULTS: From 2007 to 2016, a total of 83,395 patients with acute stroke were registered. During this period, the proportion of patients admitted within ≤3 h from symptom onset increased over time from 27.8% in 2007 to 35.2% in 2016 (p < 0.001). The proportion of patients who received rapid thrombolysis (within ≤30 min after admission) increased from 7.7 to 54.1% (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Collaborative stroke care quality projects are suitable and effective to improve acute stroke care.