Preliminary results of a study indicate an outpatient clinic for cardiac patients at Health Sciences North is improving patient outcomes and creating efficiencies for the health care system.
The Infusion Clinic was launched in September 2011, and is part of HSN’s Heart Failure Disease Management Program. The Infusion Clinic provides care to patients with heart failure.
Patients with an acute episode of heart failure can be admitted to the Infusion Clinic at the request of a cardiologist or another specialist or at the request of a physician at the heart failure clinic.
Patients within the program receive education in regards to symptom management and are made aware of what symptoms require them to call the Infusion Clinic for immediate assessment.
Treatment in the new clinic includes patient monitoring and assessment, the initiation of medications, and intravenous therapy. Upon discharge from the clinic, patients will be brought back into the Heart Failure Disease Management Program as outpatients to receive a range of follow-up care.
“The goal of this Infusion Clinic is to improve the overall health of patients with Chronic Heart Failure, and help them better self-manage their condition,” Dr. Costa Atilio-Vitali, a cardiologist and medical director of HSN’s Heart Failure Disease Management Program, said in a press release.
“Based on these findings, it's very satisfying to know that we're accomplishing these goals and helping our patients lead healthier lives."
The hospital studied the progress of 80 heart failure patients who were referred to the Heart Failure Disease Management Program and the Infusion Clinic.
Only three (3.75 per cent) of those patients were readmitted to hospital within 30 days due to heart failure.
The historical readmission rate for heart failure patients is between 20 and 30 per cent, with an average length of stay of 10 days.
Based on these findings, researchers at the hospital estimate the clinic could save the health care system more than $750,000 a year in reduced readmissions and medical interventions.
“We know that Greater Sudbury and northeastern Ontario have very high rates of chronic disease such as congestive heart failure, so we’re redefining our approach to health care to put more emphasis on the management of chronic conditions,” Dr. Denis Roy, president and CEO of Health Sciences North.
“The early results of this study show this approach is leading to better results for our patients.”
“The success of this program and Infusion Clinic is a perfect example of the benefit of evaluative research,” Dr. Francisco Diaz-Mitoma, the hospital's vice-president of research, said.
“By taking the time to study our procedures, we can determine how effective they are in improving patient care, and refine them further as needed. That leads to better outcomes for our patients and more effective use of health care resources.”