Home Health Pilot Reduces Readmissions in Heart Bypass Patients

A home health pilot is proving to pay off big by greatly reducing the risk of hospital readmissions for heart bypass surgery patients. 

According to a study released this week, 401 patients who had heart bypass surgery were three times less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge when they participated in the home care pilot. 

The program, coined Follow Your Heart, was conducted in 2010 and 2011 at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York and included two home visits from a cardiac surgery nurse practitioner in the first week to 10 days post-discharge. It included a routine visit to the surgeon within the first 10 to 14 days as well as access to hospital medical staff and the nurse practitioner, according to the HealthDay News report. 

“The goal of the Follow Your Heart program is to provide continuity of care for patients that the cardiac surgery nurse practitioners know from the hospital setting and provide robust medication management, coordinate community services, and be a communications hub for hospital and community providers,” said Dr. Michael Hall, one of the doctors who implemented the pilot, in a press release. 

Reductions in both readmissions and costs were reported by the study, which cited “substantial savings.” 

“The nurse practitioners are the key to this program’s success because they provide patients they know from the hospital setting with robust continuity of care they need immediately after hospital discharge, while helping community resources better prepare for the patient handoff,” said Dr. Hall. “We hope to continue our studies with patients with other medical diagnoses, such as heart failure, and determine the most efficient way for excellent, cost-efficient, and sustainable long-term care for these challenging patients.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker