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Cardiol Rev. 2005 Sep-Oct;13(5):231-9.

Heart failure disease management: implementation and outcomes.

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Duke Clinical Research Institute, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Millions of dollars are being spent to identify new therapies to improve mortality and morbidity for the growing epidemic of patients sustaining heart failure. However, in clinical practice, these therapies are currently underused. To bridge the gap between proven therapies and clinical practice, the medical community has turned to disease management. Heart failure disease management interventions vary from vital-sign monitoring to multidisciplinary approaches involving a pharmacist, nutritionist, nurse practitioner, and physician. This review attempts to categorize these inventions based on location. We compared the published results from randomized, controlled trials of the following types of heart failure disease management interventions: inpatient, clinic visits, home visits, and telephone follow up. Although research shows an improvement in the quality of care and a decrease in hospitalizations for patients sustaining heart failure, the economic impact of disease management is still unclear. The current reimbursement structure is a disincentive to providers wanting to offer disease management services to patients sustaining heart failure. Additionally, the cost of providing disease management services such as additional clinical visits, patient education materials, or additional personnel time has not been well documented. Most heart failure disease management studies do confirm the concept that providing increased access to healthcare providers for an at-risk group of patients sustaining heart failure does improve outcomes. However, a large-scale randomized, controlled clinical trial based in the United States is needed to prove that this concept can be implemented beyond a single center and to determine how much it will cost patients, providers, healthcare systems, and payers.

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