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    Care Pathways: Intermountain's Heart Failure Pathway

    Care Pathways: Intermountain's Heart Failure Pathway


    The Heart Failure Pathway was piloted at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. Here’s how it works:

    • Multidisciplinary teams of doctors, case managers, nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists review a daily report that helps them identify patients who are at high-risk for heart failure, hospital readmission, and mortality. That information helps the teams intervene faster and deliver improved outcomes.
    • The teams then use a set of best-practice processes to treat patients according to their specific needs no matter where they are in the continuum of care.
    • Intermountain's Cardiovascular Clinical program continually collects data, measures outcomes, and develops tools for the Heart Failure Pathway, then shares those resources with the teams that are actually providing patient care.
    • And because the work is coordinated throughout all of Intermountain, our patients at high risk for heart failure get the same high standard of care, no matter which Intermountain hospital they go to.

    Results thus far of the Heart Failure Care Pathway are impressive:

    • When McKay-Dee piloted the Heart Failure Pathway in 2014, mortality rates for patients in the pilot were 7 percent, compared to 19 percent for patients who weren't participating.
    • 34 percent of the patients in the pilot were able to return to their homes, where they received home health services after they were discharged from the hospital, instead of going to a skilled nursing facility. But only 19 percent of patients who weren't in the pilot were able to go home after discharge.

    The pilot at McKay-Dee helped prepare the pathway for system-wide implementation. Five Intermountain hospitals began using the pathway in 2015, and the remaining 17 will adopt it this year.

    Heart failure affects six million people in the U.S. Although they represent just over 2 percent of the total population, heart failure is the number one cause for hospitalization for people over 65, and the prevalence of heart failure is increasing, along with mortality and the incidence of hospital readmissions. If we see the same rates of improvement among patients nationwide that we've seen as we developed and implemented our Heart Failure Care Pathway here at Intermountain, the potential for healthier lives and lower costs is significant.

    Care Pathways are evidence-based care process models that outline the best ways to provide care in areas such as wellness and prevention, how healthcare services are delivered at clinics and hospitals, and ongoing care management. Developed by Intermountain’s Clinical Programs, the Pathways help integrate care across service areas, so patients receive the best care throughout the continuum of care, as they pass from one area to another.