The effect of an integrated care approach for heart failure on general practice
Pearl A, Wright SP, Gamble GD, Muncaster S, Walsh HJ, Sharpe N and Doughty RN. The effect of an integrated care approach for heart failure on general practice. Family Practice 2003; 20: 642-645. Background. Recent studies have investigated specific strategies for heart failure management. None has involved collaboration between primary and secondary care. Potential gains for patients may result from collaborative strategies. Objective. To assess the effect of an integrated management approach
... nagement approach for patients with heart failure on general practice. Methods. The study design was a cluster randomized controlled trial of integrated primary/ secondary care compared with usual care for heart failure patients. The study took place at Auckland Hospital, New Zealand and involved 197 patients admitted with an episode of heart failure. Patients were randomized to management group or control group (who received 'usual' care). Management group patients received early clinical review, education sessions, a personal diary for medications and weight, and regular clinical follow-up alternating between GP and hospital clinic. Follow-up was for 12 months. Results. Patients visited GPs frequently (median 14 visits, range 0-40), with no statistical difference between the two groups. Heart failure was the most common reason for consulting the GP. There was no relationship between GP consultations and patients' attendance at the study clinic, or hospital admissions. Management group GPs and patients expressed a high level of satisfaction. Conclusion. GP consultation rates were not affected by the programme. Further research will determine if general practice based programmes result in further gains.