Hospital-to-Home Program Improves Survival Rates for Heart Failure Patients and Lowers Treatment Cost

by Iswarya on  August 1, 2018 at 12:38 PM Heart Disease News
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Survival rate and other outcomes significantly improve for heart failure patients, if provided with follow-up care even after they leave the hospital, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the journal American Journal of Medical Quality.
Hospital-to-Home Program Improves Survival Rates for Heart Failure Patients and Lowers Treatment Cost
Hospital-to-Home Program Improves Survival Rates for Heart Failure Patients and Lowers Treatment Cost

The study examined participants between January 2011 and December 2014 in UVA's Hospital-to-Home (H2H) program, which is available to all heart failure patients that live within 90 miles of UVA Medical Center. For 30 days after they are released from the hospital, patients can have follow-up visits and other support from two nurse practitioners specializing in heart failure.

In the first 30 days after being released from UVA, program participants had a 41 percent lower mortality rate and a 24 percent reduction in the number of days they were readmitted to the hospital compared with patients that did not participate in the H2H program during this timeframe. These improvements in outcomes occurred even though H2H participants were sicker than non-participants, the study found.

The cost savings from the program were estimated to be about twice as much as the program's staffing costs. This is especially valuable because other studies have shown that heart failure care - which cost an estimated $31.7 billion in 2012 and is projected to more than double by 2030 - is a leading driver of health care costs in the U.S.

Keys to Success

Because heart failure is a chronic disease, ongoing management of each patient's care is key to good outcomes, said Sula Mazimba, MD, MPH, a study co-author and a heart failure specialist at UVA.

"It's important to have a program that follows patients closely and especially during their most vulnerable period following discharge from the hospital. In this regard, a discharge from the hospital is not a final goodbye, but rather just another phase of their care," he said.

Within a week of being released from the hospital, patients typically have an in-person visit with one of the program's nurse practitioners. Working with UVA physicians, pharmacists, and other team members, the nurse practitioners assess patients' heart failure symptoms and lab results, adjust their medications as needed and suggest lifestyle adjustments such as dietary changes.

"It's a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach," said study co-author Kenneth Bilchick, MD, MS, a member of UVA's heart and vascular team. "We take a holistic view of what needs to be done to keep patients out of the hospital."

Source: Eurekalert

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