Background: It is unknown if physician education through heart failure (HF) patient-specific quality-of-care report cards (HFRC) impacts outpatient HF guideline adherence.
Methods: A prospective pre-post design study was performed to test the hypothesis that a one-time, patient-specific HFRC delivered to physicians after HF patient (ejection fraction < or = 40%) discharge would lead to improved HF guideline adherence compared with control practitioners. Patients were contacted at 1, 3, and 6 months after discharge to assess medication usage and intolerances. Six month quality score (QS) was the primary end point, calculated as the sum of adherence to 4 medication performance measures (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers, aldosterone inhibitors, and warfarin for atrial fibrillation).
Results: The mean QS at discharge was 3.10 +/- 0.78 in controls (n = 189) and 3.25 +/- 0.79 in the HFRC group (n = 76, P = .11). Controlling for discharge QS, the HFRC resulted in a significantly improved QS at 3 months (beta = .11, P = .023) but not at the 6-month primary end point (beta = .084, P = .14). Controlling for baseline medication use, patients of practitioners receiving the HFRC were 32.5 (P = .019) and 8.5 (P = .030) times more likely to receive, or have a documented contraindication to, an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker at 3 and 6 months, respectively. There were no significant differences in indicated beta-blocker, aldosterone inhibitor, or warfarin prescriptions at any follow-up.
Conclusions: Although one-time patient-specific report cards result in short-term statistically significant improvements in outpatient evidence-based HF care, the gain does not translate into sustained improvements in quality of care.