Clinical practice guideline adherence before and after implementation of the HEARTFELT (HEART Failure Effectiveness & Leadership Team) intervention

J Cardiovasc Nurs. Sep-Oct 2005;20(5):306-14. doi: 10.1097/00005082-200509000-00004.


HEART Failure Effectiveness & Leadership Team (HEARTFELT) is a multifaceted intervention designed to improve adherence with the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association practice guidelines for heart failure (HF). The purpose of this study was to assess differences in clinician adherence with clinical practice guidelines before and after implementation of HEARTFELT. A quasi-experimental, untreated control group design with separate pretest/posttest samples was employed at a community hospital in Connecticut. The untreated historical control group included patients aged 65 years or older with HF and a nonequivalent comparison group of patients with stroke. The posttest samples included patients with the diagnosis of HF and stroke admitted after implementation of the HEARTFELT intervention. The HEARTFELT intervention included automated pathway in electronic medical record (order sets, interdisciplinary plan of care, self-management plan), access to evidence for clinicians and patients, HF self-management education tools, and ongoing discipline-specific feedback regarding adherence. Data were analyzed using parametric and nonparametric methods. The HEARTFELT intervention significantly improved clinician adherence with addressing all self-management categories in the electronic medical record (P = .000) and adherence with self-management education given to the patient in writing at discharge (P = .000). There were no significant differences in adherence with medical interventions (P = .39). While guideline adherence is associated with less practice variation and improved processes, methods of integration into practice in community hospital settings have been largely unexplored. The multifaceted HEARTFELT intervention is promising for its potential to integrate evidence at the point of care, to reduce unwarranted variation in practice, and ultimately to improve the outcomes of individuals with HF.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Connecticut
  • Critical Pathways / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / standards*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Hospitals, Community
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration*
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / organization & administration
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Personnel, Hospital / education
  • Point-of-Care Systems / organization & administration
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Program Evaluation