Can a hospital and postdischarge intervention focused on education on heart failure care as well as audit and feedback on care processes improve postdischarge outcomes and quality of care for patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction?
In this cluster randomized trial that included 5647 patients and 161 hospitals, patients in hospitals randomized to the quality improvement intervention compared with usual care had a rate of rehospitalization or death of 38.6% vs 39.2% and change in quality-of-care scores of 2.3% vs −1.0%, respectively; neither comparison was statistically significant.
A hospital and postdischarge quality improvement intervention did not result in better clinical outcomes or measure of quality of care for patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.
Adoption of guideline-directed medical therapy for patients with heart failure is variable. Interventions to improve guideline-directed medical therapy have failed to consistently achieve target metrics, and limited data exist to inform efforts to improve heart failure quality of care.
To evaluate the effect of a hospital and postdischarge quality improvement intervention compared with usual care on heart failure outcomes and care.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This cluster randomized clinical trial was conducted at 161 US hospitals and included 5647 patients (2675 intervention vs 2972 usual care) followed up after a hospital discharge for acute heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). The trial was performed from 2017 to 2020, and the date of final follow-up was August 31, 2020.
Hospitals (n = 82) randomized to a hospital and postdischarge quality improvement intervention received regular education of clinicians by a trained group of heart failure and quality improvement experts and audit and feedback on heart failure process measures (eg, use of guideline-directed medical therapy for HFrEF) and outcomes. Hospitals (n = 79) randomized to usual care received access to a generalized heart failure education website.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The coprimary outcomes were a composite of first heart failure rehospitalization or all-cause mortality and change in an opportunity-based composite score for heart failure quality (percentage of recommendations followed).
Among 5647 patients (mean age, 63 years; 33% women; 38% Black; 87% chronic heart failure; 49% recent heart failure hospitalization), vital status was known for 5636 (99.8%). Heart failure rehospitalization or all-cause mortality occurred in 38.6% in the intervention group vs 39.2% in usual care (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.81 to 1.05). The baseline quality-of-care score was 42.1% vs 45.5%, respectively, and the change from baseline to follow-up was 2.3% vs −1.0% (difference, 3.3% [95% CI, −0.8% to 7.3%]), with no significant difference between the 2 groups in the odds of achieving a higher composite quality score at last follow-up (adjusted odds ratio, 1.06 [95% CI, 0.93 to 1.21]).
Conclusions and Relevance
Among patients with HFrEF in hospitals randomized to a hospital and postdischarge quality improvement intervention vs usual care, there was no significant difference in time to first heart failure rehospitalization or death, or in change in a composite heart failure quality-of-care score.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03035474
DeVore AD, Granger BB, Fonarow GC, et al. Effect of a Hospital and Postdischarge Quality Improvement Intervention on Clinical Outcomes and Quality of Care for Patients With Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction: The CONNECT-HF Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2021;326(4):314–323. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.8844
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