An outpatient heart failure clinic reduces 30-day readmission and mortality rates for discharged patients: process and preliminary outcomes


Clinical Research Coordinator, Aurora Research Institute

Electrophysiology Department, Aurora BayCare Medical Center


BACKGROUND: The first outpatient heart failure clinic (HFC) in Western New York was developed within a large private cardiology practice with the objective of reducing 30-day all-cause rehospitalization and inpatient mortality.

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to analyze the process and patient outcomes of this independent outpatient HFC. The specific aims were to (a) describe the outpatient care strategies employed and (b) determine whether the HFC reduced 30-day all-cause rehospitalizations and inpatient mortality by comparing HFC data with census data.

METHODS: This study used a retrospective chart analysis of 415 adults who had been enrolled in the target HFC after hospitalization for HF. Data were summarized using frequency comparisons and descriptive statistics. One-sample chi-square tests were conducted to test the observed values in the study sample against census data.

RESULTS: Patients in the HFC were less likely to experience a readmission to hospital within 30 days of discharge (69% reduction within the study period, p < .001). Patients were seen acutely after discharge, had multiple medication adjustments, and received ongoing telephonic follow-up. The HFC had statistically lower inpatient mortality rates (1.2% vs. 11.6% national average, p < .001), likely a result of the HFC care regimen and referrals for palliative care (17%).

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this analysis highlight the importance of developing an outpatient HFC in collaboration with hospitals that is aimed at reducing 30-day all-cause readmissions and inpatient mortality, with referral to palliative care when indicated.

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