Optimal treatment of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) is scripted by treatment guidelines, but many eligible patients do not receive guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) in clinical practice.
To determine whether a remote, algorithm-driven, navigator-administered medication optimization program could enhance implementation of GDMT in HFrEF.
In this case-control study, a population-based sample of patients with HFrEF was offered participation in a quality improvement program directed at GDMT optimization. Treating clinicians in a tertiary academic medical center who were caring for patients with heart failure and an ejection fraction of 40% or less (identified through an electronic health record-based search) were approached for permission to adjust medical therapy according to a sequential titration algorithm modeled on the current American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association heart failure guidelines. Navigators contacted participants by telephone to direct medication adjustment and conduct longitudinal surveillance of laboratory tests, blood pressure, and symptoms under supervision of a pharmacist, nurse practitioner, and heart failure cardiologist. Patients and clinicians declining to participate served as a control group.
Navigator-led remote optimization of GDMT compared with usual care.
Proportion of patients receiving GDMT in the intervention and control groups at 3 months.
Of 1028 eligible patients (mean [SD] values: age, 68  years; ejection fraction, 32% [8%]; and systolic blood pressure, 122  mm Hg; 305 women (30.0%); 892 individuals [86.8%] in New York Heart Association class I and II), 197 (19.2%) participated in the medication optimization program, and 831 (80.8%) continued with usual care as directed by their treating clinicians (585 [56.9%] general cardiologists; 443 [43.1%] heart failure specialists). At 3 months, patients participating in the remote intervention experienced significant increases from baseline in use of renin-angiotensin system antagonists (138 [70.1%] to 170 [86.3%]; P < .001) and β-blockers (152 [77.2%] to 181 [91.9%]; P < .001) but not mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (51 [25.9%] to 60 [30.5%]; P = .14). Doses for each category of GDMT also increased from baseline in the intervention group. Among the usual-care group, there were no changes from baseline in the proportion of patients receiving GDMT or the dose of GDMT in any category.
Remote titration of GDMT by navigators using encoded algorithms may represent an efficient, population-level strategy for rapidly closing the gap between guidelines and clinical practice in patients with HFrEF.