Case Study: Improving Heart Failure Readmissions Rates

During Heart Failure Awareness Week (Feb. 9-15), the LUMEDX blog will post on topics related to heart failure program management.

In this case study, we will examine how a hospital system utilized performance improvement processes and data analysis to lower heart failure readmissions rates.

Background:

A hospital system found that its largest expense category over several years was in heart failure (HF) patients due to high readmissions rates. Hospital administrators determined that reducing readmissions rates would enable cost reduction and improve patient care.

The Model for Improvement:

With guidance from the LUMEDX Healthcare Consultants, the hospital employed the Model for Improvement as a foundation for change.

The model asks three questions:

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • How will we know that a change has resulted in improvement?
  • What changes can we make that will lead to improvement?

By working with LUMEDX to answer the questions above, the hospital developed concrete goals. They determined that charting current trends would provide the best basis for prediction and rapid detection of changes.

Next, LUMEDX and staff at the hospital went through a series of PDSA Cycles to test, adapt, and implement the new improvement plan – deploying a nurse case manager who would provide coaching for individual heart failure patients who had left the hospital.

During the cycles, the hospital:

  • Designed and reviewed the case manager concept with doctors, nursing staff, and hospital administration
  • Conducted small-scale tests with select groups of patients before evaluating and modifying the plan based on results
  • Summarized learnings, and implemented the final plan across the entire patient population

Conclusion:

After full implementation of the case management plan, data showed that the strategy was effective in that readmissions rates declined (see graph below).

By using data analysis, the hospital system can continue to make methodical, informed improvements in its heart failure program.

For more information on LUMEDX Healthcare Consulting, click here.

 

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