TAKEheart: AHRQ’s Initiative to Increase Use of Cardiac Rehabilitation
This initiative is designed to save lives by increasing patient participation in cardiac rehabilitation after cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery. AHRQ partners with and trains hospitals and health systems to implement strategies that have been shown to improve referral, enrollment, and retention in cardiac rehabilitation, which in turn improves the health of cardiac patients. The initiative is part of AHRQ’s continuing efforts to promote the delivery of evidence-based care.
Cardiac rehabilitation programs help eligible patients return to an active lifestyle through medically supervised education, exercise training, and psychological support. However, only 20 percent of the nearly one million Americans who experience a qualifying event each year participate in cardiac rehabilitation, despite evidence that doing so saves lives and reduces healthcare costs. This initiative aims to ensure that more of these patients are enrolled in life-saving cardiac rehabilitation by partnering with and training hospitals and health systems to increase rehabilitation referral, enrollment, and retention using proven strategies of automated referrals of eligible patients. These strategies include having the electronic health record require physicians to opt out if they choose not to refer eligible patients, and a trained liaison (care coordinator) who helps make the referrals happen. It is estimated that increasing cardiac rehabilitation participation from about 20 percent to 70 percent could save nearly 25,000 lives and prevent about 180,000 hospitalizations a year.
Primary audience: healthcare providers
Secondary audiences: researchers and policymakers
Settings of Care