Prior evaluation at our hospital demonstrated that, compared to White patients, Black and Latinx patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) were less likely to be admitted to the cardiology service rather than the general medicine service (GMS). Patients admitted to GMS (compared to cardiology) had inferior rates of cardiology follow-up and 30-day readmission.
To develop and test the feasibility and impacts of using quality improvement (QI) methods, in combination with the Public Health Critical Race Praxis (PHCRP) framework, to engage stakeholders in developing an intervention for ensuring guideline-concordant inpatient CHF care across all patient groups.
We compared measures for all patients admitted with CHF to GMS between September 2019 and March 2020 (intervention group) to CHF patients admitted to GMS in the previous year (pre-intervention group) and those admitted to cardiology during the pre-intervention and intervention periods (cardiology group). Our primary measures were 30-day readmissions and 14- and 30-day post-discharge cardiology follow-up.
There were 79 patients admitted with CHF to GMS during the intervention period, all of whom received the intervention. There were similar rates of Black and Latinx patients across the three groups. Compared to pre-intervention, intervention patients had a significantly lower 30-day readmission rate (18.9% vs. 24.8%; p=0.024), though the cardiology group also had a decrease in 30-day readmissions from the pre-intervention to intervention period. Compared to pre-intervention, intervention patients had significantly higher 14-day and 30-day post-discharge follow-up visits scheduled with cardiology (36.7% vs. 24.8%, p=0.005; 55.7% vs. 42.3%, p=0.0029), but no improvement in appointment attendance.
This study provides a first test of applying the PHCRP framework within a stakeholder-engaged QI initiative for improving CHF care across races and ethnicities. Our study design cannot evaluate causation. However, the improvements in 30-day readmission, as well as in processes of care that may affect it, provide optimism that inclusion of a racism-conscious framework in QI initiatives is feasible and may enhance QI measures.

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