When a patient presents with a pulmonary embolism (PE)—a dangerous blood clot in the lung that takes more American lives than traffic accidents, HIV, and breast cancer combined—a cross-disciplinary team mobilizes to ensure its safe removal. Within that complex coordination, various specialists carefully consider a case and records are transferred, all while the clock is ticking for the patient.
It’s a challenge that Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) interventional cardiologist/vascular specialist Kenneth Rosenfield, MD, felt some urgency to address on behalf of the 800,000 U.S. patients impacted by the condition each year. “Pulmonary embolism is underrecognized, undertreated, and undermanaged,” notes Dr. Rosenfield. In 2012, he and several MGH colleagues developed and launched the first pulmonary embolism response team (PERT) in the U.S., targeting a new model of care for the condition.
Under PERT, when an embolism is discovered, an immediate alert notifies a dozen or more related specialists who convene for a virtual meeting to map a treatment plan. The goal is seamless collaboration that keeps the team’s overall goals—the patient’s outcome—top of mind.
Over the past several years, more than 150 other hospitals—from small community hospitals to academic medical centers and international hospitals—have also embraced a team approach to PE care, 80 of which recently combined to launch the PERT Consortium. “One of the biggest factors motivating people to join the PERT Consortium is the ability to join a consortium-wide registry made up of data from all PERTs,” continues Dr. Rosenfield. “That will empower institutions to benchmark their performance and their quality of PE care against that of others around the country.”
Though improved patient outcomes from the model will need to be shown through published research in order for PERT to gain wider acceptance, early results are encouraging: Since the introduction of PERT, mortality for MGH patients with massive PEs fell to less than half the national average.
Find more on Dr. Rosenfield’s team approach to PE care in proto.