The recent enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which established the federal Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) has accelerated efforts to develop heart failure (HF) disease management programs (DMPs) that reduce readmissions in patients hospitalized for HF. This systematic review identified randomized controlled trials of HF DMPs which included home care, outpatient clinic interventions, structured telephone support, and non-invasive and invasive telemonitoring. These different types of DMPs have been associated with conflicting results. No specific type of DMP has produced consistent benefit in reducing HF hospitalizations. Although probably effective at reducing readmissions, home visits and outpatient clinic interventions have substantial limitations including cost and accessibility. Telemanagement has the potential to reach a large number of patients at a reasonable cost. Structured telephone support follow-up has been shown to significantly reduce HF readmissions, but does not significantly reduce all-cause mortality or all-cause hospitalization. A meta-analysis of 11 non-invasive telemonitoring studies demonstrated significant reductions in all-cause mortality and HF hospitalizations. Invasive telemonitoring is a potentially effective means of reducing HF hospitalizations, but only one study using pulmonary artery pressure monitoring was able to demonstrate a reduction in HF hospitalizations. Other studies using invasive hemodynamic monitoring have failed to demonstrate changes in rates of readmission or mortality. The efficacy of HF DMPs is associated with inconsistent results. Our review should not be interpreted to indicate that HF DMPs are universally ineffective. Rather, our data suggest that one approach applied to a broad spectrum of different patient types may produce an erratic impact on readmissions and clinical outcomes. HF DMPs should include the flexibility to meet the individualized needs of specific patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine