Women's College Research Institute

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Heart failure patients have better outcomes when treated at larger hospitals

October 2014

Dr. Sacha BhatiaA new study led by Dr. Sacha Bhatia, a cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital and scientist at Women’s College Research Institute, has shed light on possible factors behind the high heart failure readmission and emergency department visit rates in Canadian hospitals.

“Each year, approximately 100,000 Canadians visit the emergency department for heart failure,” said Bhatia. “While many studies have focused on heart failure readmission rates, the novel aspect of our study was the examination of system factors that may contribute to high readmission rates and what can be done to improve a patient’s quality of care.”

Bhatia and his team analyzed data from patients who visited an emergency department in Ontario and discovered that heart failure patients who are discharged from hospitals with low admission rates are more likely to be readmitted to hospital and revisit the emergency department.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal Quality and Safety and covered by The Star.

The researchers found that patients discharged from hospitals with low admission rates may have been in areas with less access to primary and specialty care and therefore were less likely to receive early collaborative care by primary care physicians and cardiac specialists after discharge, impacting their outcomes.

 “Our study supports the need for improved tools to help doctors better identify low- and high-risk patients and determine if their patients need to be in hospital or can recover at home,” Dr. Bhatia noted. “This will help reduce variations in admission rates across the province and improve treatment options and outcomes for patients.”

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