How Do Resuscitation Teams at Top-Performing Hospitals for In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Succeed?: A Qualitative Study

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Background:In-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) is common, and outcomes vary substantially across US hospitals, but reasons for these differences are largely unknown. We set out to better understand how top-performing hospitals organize their resuscitation teams to achieve high survival rates for IHCA.Methods:We calculated risk-standardized IHCA survival to discharge rates across American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines–Resuscitation registry hospitals between 2012 and 2014. We identified geographically and academically diverse hospitals in the top, middle, and bottom quartiles of survival for IHCA and performed a qualitative study that included site visits with in-depth interviews of clinical and administrative staff at 9 hospitals. With the use of thematic analysis, data were analyzed to identify salient themes of perceived performance by informants.Results:Across 9 hospitals, we interviewed 158 individuals from multiple disciplines including physicians (17.1%), nurses (45.6%), other clinical staff (17.1%), and administration (20.3%). We identified 4 broad themes related to resuscitation teams: (1) team design, (2) team composition and roles, (3) communication and leadership during IHCA, and (4) training and education. Resuscitation teams at top-performing hospitals demonstrated the following features: dedicated or designated resuscitation teams; participation of diverse disciplines as team members during IHCA; clear roles and responsibilities of team members; better communication and leadership during IHCA; and in-depth mock codes.Conclusions:Resuscitation teams at hospitals with high IHCA survival differ from non–top-performing hospitals. Our findings suggest core elements of successful resuscitation teams that are associated with better outcomes and form the basis for future work to improve IHCA.

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