Moving Beyond Heart Failure

Healthcare is changing both quickly and significantly.  For almost 10 years, the home health industry has been working on reducing hospitalizations. Over the last couple years, hospitals are now in alignment with reducing readmissions, especially with heart failure patients. That aligned nicely with all the work that many home health agencies have been doing with heart failure disease management programs.

162329885We have been through and continue to go through budget cuts and are learning to work more effectively and efficiently. Now, healthcare in general is focused on prevention which will save mega dollars in chronic care. Cardiovascular health is one of those preventative measures.

Currently, HHQI is supporting the national Million Hearts® initiative with Best Practice Intervention Packages, data reports, and the Home Health Cardiovascular Data Registry (HHCDR). The goal is to prevent heart attacks and strokes and all the long-term complications, costs and, most importantly, the reduction in quality and quantity of life for the lives of people we touch. Million Hearts logo

So move over heart failure!                                                            It’s time for the bigger picture of cardiovascular health.

This is not just a trend with HHQI or Million Hearts®, but for many health care organizations. Last fall at the Heart Failure Society of America’s annual scientific meeting, they announced the need to broaden their net. The following is a quote from Dr. Jay Cohn, founder and first present of the society.

“If we focus only on heart failure, we will influence only a small fraction of people who will eventually die of cardiovascular disease.” Cohn pointed to data suggesting that only 7% of cardiovascular deaths are from heart failure. High blood pressure was about the same at 7.5%. Stroke was responsible for 16.5%, and coronary heart disease accounted for about 50% of CV deaths. (Medscape, 2013)

Dr. Cohn was not suggesting to change specialties, but rather to aim for key cardiovascular prevention and care with their heart failure programs. At his heart failure clinic, they are assessing everyone for cardiovascular disease, looking for five phenotypes to recognize the disease early and treat accordingly to the patient’s specific issue.

Other physicians at the symposium discussed universal target thresholds for blood pressures, poly pills and other strategies. (See the 8/22/13 MyHHQI Blog post for more information on poly pills.)

Dr. Lee R Goldberg from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, also a speaker at the symposium, characterized the two approaches as complementary.

“Reducing sodium in the diet, [recommending] exercise and reduction of body weight, getting blood pressure checked—those are population-based approaches that probably are going to have a pretty big impact.” (Medscape, 2013)

Click here to read more on this article:  Steve Stiles. Beyond Heart Failure: Personalized Heart-Disease Treatment Aims at Earliest Signs. Medscape. Sep 23, 2013.

162415196So are you ready for the challenge to move home health to early prevention, reducing long-term consequences and working collaboratively as a healthcare community?  Please tell us what you think by commenting below.

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