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NJHA Marks National Heart Failure Week
Date:2/10/2009

Quality Effort Yields Results in Heart Care for Minorities

PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Just in time for this week's observance of National Heart Failure Week, the New Jersey Hospital Association's Expecting Success in Cardiac Care initiative is rapidly approaching its goal of reducing heart failure in African Americans and Latinos.

Studies show that African Americans have higher death rates than whites for both heart disease and stroke. In addition, preventable hospital rates in New Jersey for heart failure and angina are highest among Latinos. Heart failure is a leading cause of hospitalization.

In response to those troubling trends, 10 New Jersey hospitals have banded together in an intensive two-year effort to improve care and outcomes for African American and Latino heart patients. Each of the 10 hospitals is identifying, testing and adopting interventions and new strategies to deliver better inpatient care, coupled with efforts to improve care in communities that support patients once they leave the hospital.

New data capturing the first year of the initiative shows that participating hospitals have demonstrated consistent improvement in several patient care areas. These are national measures designed to show how well hospitals are complying with proven best practices. Results include:

  • Making sure patients received adequate discharge instructions increased from 75 percent to 99.5 percent.
  • Ensuring that patients were discharged from the hospital with the proper prescriptions improved by over 11 percent from 83.7 percent to 95 percent.
  • Patients receiving counseling on smoking cessation rose from 97. 4 percent to full compliance of 100 percent.

Funded by a $3.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the 10 participating hospitals work together to share and apply best practices to reduce health disparities in cardiac care. The participating hospitals are Atlanticare Regional Medical Center, Christ Hospital, Cooper Health System, East Orange Hospital, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Palisades Medical Center, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, South Jersey Regional Medical Center, Trinitas Hospital and UMDNJ-University Hospital.

The program's objectives include:

  • Improving cardiac care for African Americans and Latinos in New Jersey;
  • Developing effective strategies and models for improving the quality of cardiac care;
  • Encouraging the spread of such strategies and models to other areas of care; and
  • Communicating lessons learned to policymakers and healthcare providers.

Other strategies developed as part of the initiative include increased accuracy in collecting race and ethnicity data, refined diet instructions to address different cultures and collaborations between hospitals and local communities to identify resources and support for heart failure patients.

"We are really excited about the great results the collaborative has produced, and this is only our first year. All 10 hospitals are working together to share strengths and weaknesses in order to provide their heart failure patients with the highest quality of care," said Joan Gleason Scott, RN, program manager of Expecting Success in Cardiac Care.

NJHA's Institute for Quality and Patient Safety is administering and providing the leadership for the cardiac care learning network, offering quality improvement meetings with national experts. The Institute is assisting hospitals in developing their own plans to improve heart failure care. It also is monitoring each hospital's progress and provides a forum for the 10 participating hospitals to share lessons learned and model best practices.

"The success of this cardiac care program will ensure that minority residents here benefit from proven best care concepts and will encourage the testing of innovative healthcare ideas to build healthcare expertise in New Jersey," concluded Scott.

Based in Princeton, NJHA has been providing its 115 members with advocacy, information, research and education since 1918.


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SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association
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