Efficacy of an integrated hospital-primary care program for heart failure: A population-based analysis of 56 742 patients

Josep Comín-Colet, José María Verdú-Rotellar, Emili Vela, Montse Clèries, Montserrat Bustins, Lola Mendoza, Neus Badosa, Mercè Cladellas, Sofía Ferré, Jordi Bruguera

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Introduction and objectives The efficacy of heart failure programs has been demonstrated in clinical trials but their applicability in the real world practice setting is more controversial. This study evaluates the feasibility and efficacy of an integrated hospital-primary care program for the management of patients with heart failure in an integrated health area covering a population of 309 345. Methods For the analysis, we included all patients consecutively admitted with heart failure as the principal diagnosis who had been discharged alive from all of the hospitals in Catalonia, Spain, from 2005 to 2011, the period when the program was implemented, and compared mortality and readmissions among patients exposed to the program with the rates in the patients of all the remaining integrated health areas of the Servei Català de la Salut (Catalan Health Service). Results We included 56 742 patients in the study. There were 181 204 hospital admissions and 30 712 deaths during the study period. In the adjusted analyses, when compared to the 54 659 patients from the other health areas, the 2083 patients exposed to the program had a lower risk of death (hazard ratio = 0.92 [95% confidence interval, 0.86-0.97]; P =.005), a lower risk of clinically-related readmission (hazard ratio = 0.71 [95% confidence interval, 0.66-0.76]; P <.001), and a lower risk of readmission for heart failure (hazard ratio = 0.86 [95% confidence interval, 0.80-0.94]; P <.001). The positive impact on the morbidity and mortality rates was more marked once the program had become well established. Conclusions The implementation of multidisciplinary heart failure management programs that integrate the hospital and the community is feasible and is associated with a significant reduction in patient morbidity and mortality. Full English text available from: www.revespcardiol.org/en.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-293
JournalRevista Espanola de Cardiologia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Chronic care model
  • Disease management programs
  • Health outcomes
  • Heart failure
  • Natural experiment


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