Payor Backs Door to Balloon Initiative


December 20, 2006

UnitedHealthcare has announced its support for the “Door to Balloon (D2B): An Alliance for Quality” campaign recently initiated by the ACC and supported by 22 partnering organizations including the American Heart Association (AHA). The campaign aims to improve door to balloon time, which is the interval between a patient’s arrival at the hospital and the opening of a blocked artery with an angioplasty balloon. Patients who receive prompt treatment are more likely to survive a common type of heart attack.

The consumer health benefits company had incorporated D2B as one of the quality measurements in its UnitedHealth Premium designation program for cardiac facilities nationwide. The tangible outcome of its support will be demonstrated by increasing the weight of measurement assigned to the D2B performance standard — a facility that lowers D2B time will receive a higher quality score.

Under the UnitedHealth Premium program, facilities seeking designation status must submit clinical outcomes data, resulting in increased access to unparalleled datasets on performance against cardiac care criteria established by recognized experts that cardiac facilities, physicians and patients can use to make informed choices.

“We believe that providing hospitals, physicians and health care professionals with evidence-based information they can use to analyze clinical performance is one of the most important ways to improve clinical quality,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., executive vice president and chief of medical affairs for UnitedHealth Group in a press release. “We commend the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association for taking a leadership role to improve timeliness of treatment, representing an important opportunity to improve the quality of patient care. This should come as welcome news for the millions of Americans – and their families – who suffer from heart disease and expect to receive the best care and information.”