Carly Anderson, Technology Insights
Heart failure management throughout the care continuum has become an increasing focus for hospitals lately given health care reform’s upcoming readmission penalties for these patients. Yet, managing individuals with HF is fraught with challenges. For one, HF patients are of advanced age and highly comorbid, with complicating conditions ranging from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe renal dysfunction, and diabetes, all of which can make treatment more difficult and increase the likelihood of hospital readmission. Second, patients with HF may be located throughout the hospital as they are likely to be admitted for reasons outside of heart failure alone. This challenge may be contributing to the estimated 40 to 50 percent of HF patients with relatively preserved systolic function who do not receive specific guideline-recommended therapies. Furthermore, there is a general lack of evidence-based interventions and medications showing consistent positive outcomes for HF patients in the acute care setting; for instance, in the ASCEND-HF trial, the FDA-approved drug nesiritide (Johnson & Johnson) was recently found to have no benefit in HF patients, even leading to hypotension for some.
With looming readmission penalties, hospitals turn attention to managing heart failure care continuum