Enhancing Participation in Cardiac Rehabilitation: A Question of Proximity and Integration of Outpatient Services

Cemal Ozemek, Shane A. Phillips, Bo Fernall, Mark A. Williams, Thomas D. Stamos, Samantha Bond, Hannah Claeys, Deepika R. Laddu, Ross Arena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Numerous investigations have established the strong clinical utility of cardiac rehabilitation, while clinical guidelines continually call for a high level of referral and participation. Historically, medical facilities have faced challenges referring eligible patients to cardiac rehabilitation, enrolling only a small portion of those receiving referral. Consequently, less than ~10% of qualifying patients receive any amount of cardiac rehabilitation. This sobering figure has prompted many efforts to identify barriers to referral as well as enrollment and accordingly propose strategies to bolster participation rates. Although reports have highlighted improvements through focused approaches, enrollment rates still lag behind the goal of reaching 70% by 2022, proposed by the Million Hearts Cardiac Rehabilitation Collaborative. An area of inquiry that has received little to no attention in this effort has been the influence of proximity between physician-driven outpatient clinics and cardiac rehabilitation facilities. In this report we outline the development and design of a clinical faculty practice aimed to maintain close geographical proximity between our physician clinic and the cardiac rehabilitation area. We also propose that our impressive enrollment rates of 57% within our facility and 73% when including patients that started alternative exercise programs were likely due to establishing a close proximity between the respective practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-435
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Problems in Cardiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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