Rockville, Md. – Cardiac rehabilitation can be enormously valuable to people who have had a heart episode. It can cut both cardiovascular deaths and hospitalization by roughly 30 percent. But only one in five people who could benefit take part in cardiac rehabilitation. Raising the participation rate to 70 percent could save an estimated 25,000 lives and prevent about 180,000 hospital admissions a year. That’s why the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently announced a $6 million, 3-year award to Abt Associates for a project to increase patient participation after heart attacks, heart failure, angioplasty or heart surgery.
Abt and our partners--Crosby Marketing Communications, the American Hospital Association’s Health Research and Educational Trust, WomenHeart and Brigham and Women’s Hospital--will implement the project by collaborating with and training up to 100 hospitals and health systems to increase rehabilitation referrals, enrollment and retention. These efforts will apply strategies in the new Million Hearts®/AACVPR Cardiac Rehabilitation Change Package, a quality improvement action guide developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. The Abt team will work with hospitals to adopt two proven strategies: automated referrals of patients who qualify and a trained liaison to help make the referrals happen.
“This is an important initiative that can save thousands of lives every year and enable people to return to productive, active lives,” said Christopher Spera, Ph.D., Abt division vice president, health and environment.
Among the key beneficiaries: older and sicker patients, women, minorities and patients with lower socioeconomic status or education, who may have even lower participation rates than the 20 percent national average.
Cardiac rehab programs include medically supervised education, exercise training and psychological support. The lives saved and hospitalizations avoided would more than offset the costs of investments in such programs.
Hospitals participating in the initiative, and others that join a new learning network, will be able to use a website that will emphasize the value of increased use of cardiac rehabilitation services for patients and the availability of resources to promote referrals, enrollment and retention.
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security. Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development. http://www.abtassociates.com