Objectives: The National Benchmarks and Evidence-Based National Clinical Guidelines for Heart Failure Management Programs Study is a national, multicenter study designed to determine the nature, range, and effect of interventions applied by chronic heart failure management programs (CHF-MPs) throughout Australia on patient outcomes. Its primary objective is to use these data to develop national benchmarks and evidence-based clinical guidelines and optimize their cost-effective application by reducing quality and outcome variability.
Data sources/study setting: Primary data will be collected from CHF-MP coordinators and CHF patients enrolled in these programs on a national basis. Secondary outcome data will be collected from a national morbidity record and from patients' medical records.
Study design: Stage I of the study involves a prospective clinical audit of all CHF-MPs throughout Australia (n = 45) to determine the extent of variability in programs currently. Stage II is a prospective cross-sectional survey design enrolling 1,500 patients (average of 40 patients per program) to firstly determine the typical profile of patients being managed via a CHF-MP in Australia and, secondly, the subsequent morbidity and mortality during the 6-month follow-up. Outcome data will be subject to multivariate analysis to determine the key components of care in this regard. All study data will be then examined in the final stage of the study (III) to develop national benchmarks for the application and auditing of CHF-MPs in Australia.
Conclusion: Variability in patient outcomes is a product of heterogeneity among CHF-MPs. The development of national benchmarks will minimize such heterogeneity and will provide a greater level of evidence for their cost-effective application.
Andrea Driscoll, MEd, MN, BN PhD Candidate, School of Nursing, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
Linda Worrall-Carter, PhD, BEd Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
Simon Stewart, PhD, NFESC, FAHA Professor and NHF Chair of Cardiovascular Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia; and Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.
Additional material related to this article can be found on the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing Web site. Go to www.jcnjournal.com.
Corresponding author Simon Stewart, PhD, NFESC, FAHA, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia, Centenary Building, City East Campus, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).