JAMESTOWN - Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Chautauqua County. Thanks to a grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, The Resource Center soon will be better equipped to help save lives.
As part of its "Maintaining the Right Rhythm" initiative, The Resource Center received a $3,000 grant from the Community Foundation toward the purchase of a new electrocardiogram, or EKG, unit for TRC's Health Services office in Jamestown. The agency chose "Maintaining the Right Rhythm" as the title for its grant request in an effort to make community members aware of how to better detect heart disease and protect themselves from developing it.
The EKG is a machine that checks the heart's electrical activity. An EKG test often can pinpoint the cause of unexplained chest pain or symptoms of heart disease. The unit is designed to interface with The Resource Center's electronic medical records system, enabling TRC's Health Services to be more efficient in the transfer of vital patient information.
"Our EKG machine was very old and required an extensive amount of staff time to acquire a tracing suitable for interpretation by the doctor," said Julie Kohler, practice manager. "Sometimes two or three tracings had to be done to get a good one. We were sending most of our patients to WCA Hospital for EKGs."
Money for the new machine came from the Community Foundation's Isabelle C. Erickson Community Service Fund.
"Mrs. Erickson was always interested in providing funds that would address the pressing needs of our community," said Randy Sweeney, CRCF's executive director. "The Community Foundation is very concerned about the medical care of the residents in our area. In a critical situation, the ability for the clinic to have the prompt, accurate diagnosis and to begin treatment could result in saving a life. The foundation hopes this will be helpful with The Resource Center continuing to provide excellent care."
"With this new machine, the doctor can view the results and record his interpretation right in the record. And with the actual results in the chart rather than a scanned copy, the physician has the ability to compare previous tracings to the current one," Kohler said. "In addition, we will also be able to offer EKGs to more of our patients, eliminating the need for them to make a special trip to the hospital outpatient department."
The new machine also removes the need to purchase expensive thermal paper. If a patient or a specialist requires a copy of the EKG, it can be printed out on regular copy paper.
The machine is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.
TRC's Health Services office, located at 890 E. Second St. in Jamestown, offers primary care services that are available to anyone in the community.
The acquisition of the new EKG machine is part of The Resource Center's commitment to ensure the health of its patients. The Resource Center is in the process of implementing its STARS health care model. The Resource Center developed STARS (System Transformation with Accountability, Results and Satisfaction) in response to the many changes taking place in the health care delivery system nationally and across New York State. STARS seeks to achieve the "triple aim" of the Affordable Care Act by improving the health of the entire community, improving each patient's experience when receiving care, and reducing the per-capita costs of health care.
TRC intends to do this by implementing a broad-scale integration of its comprehensive services in order to address each patient's well being across five key life dimensions: family and basic needs, physical health, behavioral health, quality of life, and employment or community engagement.
For more information about The Resource Center's health-related services or the STARS model, phone 483-2344.