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September 4, 2018

HQC contributes to screening tool endorsed by Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

A new “made in Saskatchewan” tool developed to help Emergency Medical Services staff quickly identify those stroke patients who need speedy transport for surgery has been recognized by the national body that oversees stroke care in Canada.

The screening tool, called FAST-VAN, enables ambulance crews to rapidly determine which patients are experiencing a large vessel occlusion stroke, so they can be fast-tracked for endovascular surgery at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital – the only centre in Saskatchewan to offer this specialized service.  Developed by Dr. Gary Hunter’s stroke team at RUH, the FAST-VAN tool has been validated by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and is listed as one of the tools for assessing severity of stroke in the July 2018 edition of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations. Other sites in Ontario and British Columbia have also adopted the tool.  

“Our team is excited that the data supports the accuracy of the tool, as we strive to equalize access to this life saving procedure across the entire province,” says Dr. Hunter.

“HQC has been integral in supporting this work.”  (Dr. Gary Hunter)

HQC was involved in testing the tool provincially, to assess its ability to correctly identify those stroke patients most likely to benefit from rapid transport for vascular surgery.  The Council provided measurement support to this project as part of its work to ensure patients get appropriate care.  

Tracey Sherin, HQC’s Director of Analysis and Research Partnerships, says this work illustrates the Council’s role in providing timely evidence and supporting learning and improvement. “We measured the performance of the tool at several points during the project, then fed the results back to the team,” says Sherin. “That enabled them to improve the process based on what they learned from the data.”

For more information, contact Tracey Sherin at HQC (306-668-8810 ext 167 / tsherin@hqc.sk.ca)