Virtual Clinics To Improve Quality of Care and Outcomes in Heart Failure: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
Implementation & Integration
Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of death, hospitalization, and healthcare system expenditure in Canada. While care in multidisciplinary HF clinics that focus on optimal management of HF improves health outcomes in HF, there are disparities to access to such care. To respond to the needs of patients and our healthcare system, we are developing and testing the effect of a ‘Virtual HF Clinic’ model of care. This will facilitate the remote delivery of outpatient HF services to patients in their homes. We have worked with digital health companies to innovate a technology-based healthcare platform that combines digital telemonitoring of vital signs and weight; checklists for clinical evaluation; outpatient laboratory diagnostic testing; community pharmacy services; and videoconferencing. We hypothesize that this model will result in improved outcomes for patients, providers and the healthcare system.
Rationale/Background: Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of death, hospitalization, and healthcare system expenditure in Canada. While care in multidisciplinary HF clinics that focus on optimal management of HF improves health outcomes in HF, there are disparities in access to such care across our nation. Access to HF clinics is a privilege that depends on the patient’s location of residence, and the size of the population served by the clinic, and this has implications on the quality of healthcare. Objective: To develop and test the effect of virtual HF clinics on clinical, patient-reported, healthcare system process, and healthcare system cost outcomes relative to routine HF clinics. Implications /knowledge translation: This study will capitalize on an integrated knowledge translation approach, where decision-makers and researchers are mutual drivers of research, to shape policy and facilitate early implementation at the healthcare system level. We aim to inform policy at the provincial and regional levels so that funds can be invested in effective healthcare models and practices.