Influence of a performance-improvement initiative on quality of care for patients hospitalized with heart failure: results of the Organized Program to Initiate Lifesaving Treatment in Hospitalized Patients With Heart Failure (OPTIMIZE-HF)

Arch Intern Med. 2007 Jul 23;167(14):1493-502. doi: 10.1001/archinte.167.14.1493.


Background: Despite evidence-based national guidelines for optimal treatment of heart failure (HF), the quality of care remains inadequate. We sought to evaluate the effect of a national hospital-based initiative on quality of care in patients hospitalized with HF.

Methods: Two hundred fifty-nine US hospitals participating in the Organized Program to Initiate Lifesaving Treatment in Hospitalized Patients With Heart Failure (OPTIMIZE-HF) submitted data on 48 612 patients with HF from March 1, 2003, through December 31, 2004. Admission, hospital, discharge care, and outcomes data were collected using a Web-based registry that provided real-time feedback on performance measures benchmarked to other hospitals. Process-of-care improvement tools, including evidence-based best-practice algorithms and customizable admission and discharge sets, were provided.

Results: Provision of complete discharge instructions and smoking-cessation counseling increased significantly (from 46.8%-66.5% and 48.2%-75.6%, respectively; P < .001 for both). Left ventricular function assessment started at a high rate (89.3%) and improved to 92.1% (P < .001). Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors were prescribed at discharge to 75.8% of eligible patients, which did not improve during the 2-year study. There were trends for reduction of in-hospital mortality, postdischarge death, and combined postdischarge death and rehospitalization and a significant reduction in mean length of stay. Use of preprinted admission order sets and/or discharge checklists increased from 35.6% to 54.1% and was associated with an increase in the use of evidence-based therapies and lower risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality.

Conclusions: Participation in OPTIMIZE-HF was associated with an increase in use of evidence-based therapy, adherence to performance measures, and shorter lengths of stay in patients hospitalized with HF. Increased use of process-of-care improvement tools was associated with further improvements in quality of care.

Trial registration: Identifier NCT00344513.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Patient Readmission
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Ventricular Function, Left


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors

Associated data