"We were surprised, we expected that one intervention would work better on all fronts," Clark said. Ideally patients and their physicians should first decide on desired treatment outcomes, and then the physician should recommend a program. But, Clark said, in the country's health care system, which values technology and pharmaceuticals over health education, one of the big problems is a dearth of well-designed programs.
The proper follow-up education and support program, however, would result in greater quality of life and fewer hospital visits, she said. Research that Clark's group published several years ago demonstrated that educational programming for women to help manage their heart disease resulted in 46 percent fewer inpatient hospital days, and 49 percent lower inpatient costs.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death among women, and management problems are prevalent as women live longer. Women with heart disease compared to men tend to be older, widowed, living alone, and report more severe symptoms and are more likely to avoid physical activity. They report greater negative impact on their mobility and social interactions.
The U-M research group is working with the U-M Office of Technology Transfer to make the educational programs in the study available to hospitals and clinicians, Janz said.
|Contact: Laura Bailey|
University of Michigan