News: Clinical pathway helps lower heart failure readmissions, study finds
Acute heart failure patients in an emergency department's (ED) clinical pathway program had a 13.1% lower readmission rate, according to a report published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
The study found that patients in an acutely decompensated heart failure clinical pathway (ADHFCP) program experienced this decrease in hospital readmission compared to a control group, JustCoding reported.
A key element of the ADHFCP program was an immediate consultation with a cardiologist when participating patients presented at the ED, the study says.
The cardiologist consultations likely reduced admissions from the ED since patients were more likely to receive diuretics than the control group of patients and diuretics were given in higher quantities to ADHFCP patients. Meeting with a staff cardiologist likely boosted the confidence of ED physicians to discharge ADHFCP patients, the study said.
In addition to the cardiologist consultation, the ADHFCP program had four primary components:
- Cardiology follow-up appointments a week after discharge
- Primary care appointments two weeks after discharge
- Follow-up telephone calls at three, seven, 14, and 21 days after discharge
- More care visits at the discretion of clinicians
The Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, which penalizes hospitals financially for high readmission rates, includes heart failure as one of its 20 targeted conditions, according to JustCoding, so these decreased readmissions could have a noticeable effect on hospital quality measures and reimbursement in the long run.