Implementation of the HEART Pathway: Using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research

Crit Pathw Cardiol. 2018 Dec;17(4):191-200. doi: 10.1097/HPC.0000000000000154.


Objective: The HEART Pathway is an evidence-based decision tool for identifying emergency department (ED) patients with acute chest pain who are candidates for early discharge, to reduce unhelpful and potentially harmful hospitalizations. Guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, we sought to identify important barriers and facilitators to implementation of the HEART Pathway.

Study setting: Data were collected at 4 academic medical centers.

Study design: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 25 key stakeholders (e.g., health system leaders, ED physicians). We conducted interviews before implementation of the HEART Pathway tool to identify potential barriers and facilitators to successful adoption at other regional academic medical centers. We also conducted postimplementation interviews at 1 medical center, to understand factors that contributed to successful adoption.

Data collection: Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. We used a Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research framework-driven deductive approach for coding and analysis.

Principal findings: Potential barriers to implementation include time and resource burden, challenges specific to the electronic health record, sustained communication with and engagement of stakeholders, and patient concerns. Facilitators to implementation include strength of evidence for reduced length of stay and unnecessary testing and iatrogenic complications, ease of use, and supportive provider climate for evidence-based decision tools.

Conclusions: Successful dissemination of the HEART Pathway will require addressing institution-specific barriers, which includes engaging clinical and financial stakeholders. New SMART-FHIR technologies, compatible with many electronic health record systems, can overcome barriers to health systems with limited information technology resources.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Health Personnel / standards*
  • Health Plan Implementation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Qualitative Research*
  • United States