Providing effective discharge instructions, appropriate dose uptitration, education regarding heart failure (HF) monitoring, and strict follow-up have all been shown to decrease readmissions for HF but are all underutilized. The authors developed and evaluated the impact of a quality-improvement HF checklist as a tool to remind physicians to improve quality of care in HF patients. The checklist was used in randomly selected patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of acute decompensated HF. It included documentation regarding medications and dose uptitration, relevant counseling, and follow-up instructions at discharge. The checklist was used in 48 patients, and this checklist group was compared with 48 patients as a randomly selected control group. Higher proportions of patients were taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) in the checklist group compared with the control group (40 of 48 vs 23 of 48, P<.001). Compared with the controls, the rate of dose uptitration for β-blockers and/or ACE inhibitors/ARBs was more common in the checklist group (4 of 48 vs 21 of 48, P<.001). Both 30-day (19% to 6%) and 6-month (42% to 23%) readmissions were lower in the checklist group. The use of an HF checklist was associated with better quality of care and decreased readmission rates for patients admitted with HF.
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