[Integration between cardiology and primary care: impact on clinical practice]

Rev Esp Cardiol. 2011 Jul;64(7):564-71. doi: 10.1016/j.recesp.2011.02.021. Epub 2011 Jun 2.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction and objectives: To assess the impact of a program integrating cardiology and primary care in clinical practice, compared with usual care. The integrated care consists of a hospital cardiologist in each primary care clinic, shared clinical history, joint practice guidelines, consultation sessions, and other coordinating tools.

Methods: Observational, cross-sectional study of 2 series of chronic outpatients: conventional and integrated care. We analyzed patient distribution and the impact on good clinical practice indicators in patients with ischemic heart disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation, along with primary care practitioner satisfaction and use of resources.

Results: We included 3194 patients (1572 usual care, 1622 integrated care). Integrated care changed the patient distribution, allowing the cardiologist to focus on serious pathologies while cardiovascular risk factors and stable patients were monitored in primary care. In ischemic heart disease, improvement was observed in cholesterol management and blood pressure control; optimal medical treatment was more frequently prescribed and ventricular function evaluated more often. In heart failure, β-blockers treatment increased and functional class was assessed more often. In atrial fibrillation, an increase in anticoagulation prescription and echocardiography evaluation was observed. Satisfaction parameters improved with integrated care. The use of resources was not increased.

Conclusions: Using our integration model, follow-up and chronic treatment of patients with ischemic heart disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation were improved. Monitoring of chronic patients was redistributed between primary care and cardiology, and family physicians' satisfaction levels improved. There was no increase in use of resources. Full English text available from: www.revespcardiol.org.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cardiology / trends*
  • Data Collection
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / standards
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / trends*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Heart Diseases / therapy*
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / trends*
  • Referral and Consultation