Identifying opportunities for a medical group to improve outcomes for patients with coronary artery disease and heart failure: an exploratory study
CONTEXT: A decision-support tool was created to identify opportunities to improve outcomes for patients with coronary artery disease and heart failure by delivering all efficacious interventions; that is, "optimizing" care. When national data were applied, nearly 75% of the deaths that could be prevented or postponed by optimizing care for patients with heart disease would occur among ambulatory patients. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this analysis is two-fold: 1) to determine whether medical group data are adequate to use in the decision-support tool, and 2) to determine whether the conclusions generated from the medical group data are similar to the conclusions generated from US data. DESIGN/MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The potential impact of optimizing care for patients age 40 to 75 years treated for coronary artery disease and heart failure by a multispecialty group between August 2007 and July 2008 was calculated using deaths that might be prevented or postponed if optimal care was achieved. RESULTS: The greatest opportunity to prevent or postpone deaths-70% of the total opportunity-lies with optimizing care for ambulatory patients. Optimizing care for patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction with or without ST-segment elevation on electrocardiography would prevent or postpone only 2% of deaths. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that 1) it is feasible to use the decision-support tool to analyze opportunities for improvement in a medical group, and 2) as concluded from national data analysis, optimizing ambulatory care presents the greatest opportunity to improve outcomes for patients with heart disease.
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