New Cardiac Rehabilitation Referral Strategies Beneficial

Automatic referral plus patient discussion result in highest rates of cardiac rehabilitation

THURSDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A combined approach of automatic referral and communication with patients achieves the highest reported rates of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) utilization, according to a study published in the Feb. 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Sherry L. Grace, Ph.D., from York University in Toronto, and colleagues evaluated the optimal referral strategy to maximize CR utilization. The study included 2,635 in-patients with coronary artery disease from 11 Ontario hospitals who were referred for CR using one of four different strategies: automatic referral via discharge order or electronic record, referral by liaison with a health care provider, a combined referral approach, or the standard care. One year later, 1,809 of the participants completed a survey to evaluate CR utilization.

The researchers found that the referral strategy was significantly associated with CR referral and enrollment. A combined automatic and liaison referral approach resulted in the greatest CR referral and enrollment (85.8 and 73.5 percent, respectively). There was a 70.2 percent referral and 60 percent enrollment for automatic referral only, and 59 percent referral and 50.6 percent enrollment for liaison only, compared to 32.2 percent referral and 29 percent enrollment with the usual referral. Among those patients that were referred to CR, the referral strategy did not affect the degree of CR participation, which was over 80 percent on average.

"The results of this study provide strong and pragmatic evidence that innovative referral strategies can positively influence access to CR. Use of automatic referral combined with a patient discussion resulted in over 70 percent use of CR," the authors write.

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Categories: Cardiology Nursing

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