ACC Patient Navigator Program | Focus MI: A Solution to Reducing MI Readmissions Nationally

Hundreds of hospitals across the U.S. have access to tools and resources to help improve care and lower readmission rates for myocardial infarction (MI) patients as part of ACC’s expanded Patient Navigator Program: Focus MI quality campaign. With support from founding sponsor AstraZeneca, the expanded program is providing hospitals participating in ACC’s ACTION Registry the opportunity to transform care by sharing successful strategies, mentorship, and specialized tools and resources.

“Since the original Patient Navigator Program launched, hospitals and cardiovascular care team members have led the way in developing effective ways to help manage patients’ heart health after they leave the hospital,” says ACC President Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC. “The Patient Navigator Program: Focus MI aims to build on what we have learned to help hospitals across the country reduce readmission rates while improving patients’ long-term outcomes.”

A total of 35 U.S. hospitals participated in the initial Patient Navigator Program, which launched in 2013 and focused on reducing 30-day hospital readmissions for MI and heart failure patients. Hospitals participating in the program reported increases in the number of MI patients assessed for risk of readmissions and greater understanding among MI and heart failure patients about their medications. In addition, they were able to reach both groups of patients with education and community resources aimed at ensuring smoother patient transitions from the hospital to home.

Cardiology Magazine Image"The Patient Navigator Program: Focus MI aims to build on what we have learned to help hospitals across the country reduce readmission rates while improving patients’ long-term outcomes." Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC

“Hospital readmissions are devastating to patients and their families, and patients who are readmitted have a greater chance of mortality. Additionally, readmissions take a heavy toll on our entire health care system,” said senior study author Nancy M. Albert, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, who is presenting more details on one-year outcomes from the program today as part of a moderated poster sessions. “We were encouraged to see a trend toward decreased heart failure readmissions when process improvements were implemented. However, improvements won’t happen automatically; strong support is needed by hospital leadership, staff, patients and all stakeholders.”

Under the second phase of the program, hospitals that enroll in the Patient Navigator Program: Focus MI have access to evidence based toolkits, self-assessment tools, a learning community of national experts and peer colleagues, and an ACTION Registry dashboard specifically designed to track Patient Navigator Program: Focus MI metrics. Fifteen of the original 35 hospitals from the first phase of the Patient Navigator Program will focus on reducing 90-day readmissions for MI patients and provide mentorship for wider adoption of the program across other institutions. Researchers will continue to study the transition care measures to learn the measures that work best, such as assessing two-year program outcomes to better understand how a hospital’s commitment to quality efforts affects patient outcomes. In addition, other measures that were not included in the first report will be studied.

“The progress from the ACC Patient Navigator Program has provided great evidence into the importance of putting programs in place to address transition of care for patients following a heart attack,” says Rod Wooten, vice president, CVMD, AstraZeneca. “As hospitals continue to seek evidence-based strategies to improve quality of care, our hope is that providing continued support to the Patient Navigator Program: Focus MI will address the important topic of reducing MI readmissions for patients nationally.”

Learn more about the program, at

Don’t miss the study, “Changes in Hospital Performance and Transition-Care Measures 1-Year After Initiation of the Patient Navigator Program,” today at 3:45 p.m. in the Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies Moderated Poster Theater, Poster Hall, Hall A/B.

Keywords: ACC Publications, ACC Scientific Session Newspaper, ACC Annual Scientific Session

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