Blueprint for Atrial Fibrillation Centers

Program Profiles for Streamlining Care Across the Continuum

Topics: Cardiovascular, Service Lines, Program Infrastructure, Business Development, Strategy, Care Coordination, Methodologies, Performance Improvement, Continuum Integration, Multidisciplinary Care, Patient Navigation, Patient-Focused Care, Market Trends, Volume Growth

By reading this study, members will learn:

  • How to access their market for atrial fibrillation (a-fib) services
  • Methods for coordinating a-fib care across various sites and cardiovascular specialists
  • How progressive programs have reorganized services to deliver interdisciplinary, logitudinal a-fib care through three case profiles

Executive Summary

As traditional service line volumes become harder to capture, cardiovascular programs must pursue new growth opportunities while also finding ways to care for an increasingly chronic, comorbid patient population. Atrial fibrillation (a-fib) is a prime opportunity due to rising prevalence, new treatment options, and the need to coordinate care across the continuum. To fully capture this opportunity, progressive programs are designing “disease centers” around a-fib to boost growth, streamline care, and enhance quality.

Why atrial fibrillation?

By 2050, nearly 16 million Americans are expected to have a-fib, a disease with a price tag of $26 billion per year. Multiple treatment options and lack of a complete cure make long-term treatment a complex and clouded issue.

There is already growing evidence that multidisciplinary, coordinated care—such as can be offered by a disease center—greatly benefits a-fib patients. For example, a recent study in the European Heart Journal found that a-fib patients managed in a condition-specific, nurse-led clinic setting fared much better than those managed solely by physicians, with a nearly 72% drop in re-hospitalization and a nearly 29% decrease in mortality.

Common challenges to develop and operate an a-fib center

Although it has great promise, developing an a-fib disease center is logistically and financially challenging. Among other hurdles, CV leaders ranked generating referrals as the primary challenge, followed by coordinating post-discharge patient follow-up.

A-fib center success stories

To help programs overcome these obstacles, this study profiles three progressive institutions that have optimized a-fib centers. Each organization represents a different strategic approach, providing a unique perspective into a-fib center development:

If implemented strategically with dedication to coordinated, multidisciplinary care, a-fib centers not only have the ability to fill a distinct need in the community but also provide a unique growth prospect for the institution.

Evaluating the Opportunity for Atrial Fibrillation Services