The Particulars: Data indicate that 30-day readmission rates for patients with heart failure (HF) are high despite numerous efforts to reduce these rates. An early alert system from the emergency department (ED) to an around-the-clock, dedicated HF team may help decrease 30-day readmission rates among this patient population.

Data Breakdown: Study investigators developed an alert that is activated within an electronic medical record system when a patient with HF is registered in the ED within 30 days of being discharged. The alert was distributed to an on-call HF team, who directed ED providers in aggressive treatment. This treatment was continued when the HF team arrived at the hospital. For the study, the 30-day readmission rate was 24.5% in the 12 months prior to implementing the alert system. After this system was implemented, 30-day readmission rates decreased to an average of 18.4% at 12 months.

Take Home Pearl: Use of an early alert system from the ED to an on-call HF team appears to significantly reduce 30-day readmission rates among patients with HF.