New program to help heart patients navigate care, reduce readmissions

June 5, 2013

The American College of Cardiology is developing a program with support from founding sponsor AstraZeneca to provide personalized services to heart disease patients and help avoid a quick return to the hospital.

Nearly one in five patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four patients hospitalized with are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, often for conditions seemingly unrelated to the original diagnosis. Readmissions can be related to issues like stresses within the hospital, fragility on discharge, lack of understanding of discharge instructions and inability to carry out discharge instructions.

The $10 million sponsorship from will allow the ACC to create a Patient Navigator Program that will support a team of caregivers to help patients overcome challenges during their hospital stay and in the weeks following discharge when they are most vulnerable. The ultimate goal will be to create a program that supports a culture of patient-centered care that can be implemented in other hospitals.

"The ACC Patient Navigator Program will serve as a test for innovative, patient-centered solutions to address issues that impact patient readmissions," said ACC President John G. Harold, MD, MACC. "A team of caregivers focused on the patients' ongoing needs can make the patient's hospitalization less stressful and the post-discharge period more supportive. The goal is for patients to make a seamless transition from the hospital to the home."

The ACC will recruit 35 hospitals that already participate in the ACC's National Cardiovascular Data Registry and the Hospital to Home Initiative. The program will utilize and expand upon improvement strategies, toolkits and other best practices learned from communities within these programs in more than 1,500 hospitals in the U.S.

"Supporting the development of the ACC Patient Navigator Program allows AstraZeneca to make a difference for patients and while helping support a program that we hope will have a long-term impact on the quality of care patients receive as they transition from to home following a ," said Paul Hudson, Executive Vice President, North America, AstraZeneca.

Explore further: Risk of death, hospital readmission prolonged after heart attack, heart failure

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