Improving Care for the Population with Heart Failure: A Study of a Patient Education Quality Improvement, and Proposal for Next Steps in Program Development


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According to the CDC, about 6.5 million adults in the United States have heart failure. Heart Failure was a contributing cause of 1 in 8 American deaths in 2017, and cost the nation an estimated $30.7 billion in 2012. This total includes the cost of healthcare services, medicines and missed days of work. Heart failure has a significant impact on health care from readmission rates to CMS payment model programs. Health care institutions need to succeed with a clinical implementation of quality best practices in order to avoid morbidity and mortality among their inpatient and outpatient heart failure patients. To address the growing need; to reduce readmission rates for our heart failure inpatients in a value-based healthcare payment system; the study examined the effects of a process improvement effort to develop an education support group. It reviews the literature on best practices in the management of heart failure, and then describes the program and strategy to improve heart failure care for patients in our 250-bed hospital having no heart failure transplant program. The successful development of this heart failure program used the validated change principles of Kotter’s eight-stage change model combined with the author's personal experiences as a cardiovascular quality subject matter expert, is contained within this paper. Our program implementation was associated with a 52% decrease in 90-day readmission rates and improved patient experience, demonstrated using comparative retrospective study design. The study provides insight into strategies to improve the care of heart failure patients. Findings showed that one-on-one care promotes self-care having favorable impact on heart failure patients and overall hospital performance, as evidenced by lower readmissions, increased patient satisfaction, and decreased overall costs.



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