Heart Failure Clinical Trial
Implementing a Digitally-enabled Community Health Worker Intervention for Patients With Heart Failure
The purpose of this study is to assess the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary effectiveness of implementing a 30-day digitally-enabled community health worker intervention compared to usual care with a community health worker in reducing heart failure 30-day readmissions within a pilot randomized controlled trial.
Heart failure (HF) is a highly prevalent disease in the United States, with elevated morbidity and mortality. Nearly 6.2 million people in the US are affected by HF and this number is expected to rise to 8.5 million by 2030. Total direct medical costs of HF, mostly generated by inpatient hospitalizations, are estimated to increase from $21 billion in 2012 to $53 billion by 2030. HF is the leading cause of 30-day readmissions in the US; a quarter of these are considered to be preventable. Most patients with HF are readmitted to hospital medicine services for non-HF co-morbidities (e.g. pneumonia) with clinical, social, and behavioral factors driving readmissions. Despite numerous interventions designed to prevent readmissions, including telemetry monitoring, only marginal HF outcome improvement has been observed. HF readmission rates remain elevated and could be prevented by a multidisciplinary approach promoting better connections to and communication with clinical care teams while addressing social and behavioral barriers to HF care.
One approach that has demonstrated improved chronic disease outcomes by addressing social, behavioral, and basic clinical barriers to care- and has yet to be formally studied in HF populations- is community health workers (CHWs). CHWs are members of clinical teams who address social, economic, educational, behavioral, and basic clinical factors influencing health outcomes while fostering patient connections to care teams. CHW care delivery is one of a few interventions shown to reduce readmissions in patients with chronic disease. CHWs have basic clinical knowledge of specific conditions, along with a skillset designed to address social and behavioral drivers of health outcomes like 30-day readmissions. However, CHW care is challenged by key factors, including intensive 1:1 care delivery, limiting its scale and efficiency.
In 2016, a biotechnology company launched a HF digital platform within a mobile phone application to help reduce 30-day readmissions in patients with HF by 1) leveraging artificial intelligence to minimize false alarms in biometric monitoring, 2) promoting early identification of decline in HF patients, and 3) encouraging digital and in-person communication between patients and care teams. In preliminary findings, digital platform clinical trial data has shown promise in reducing HF 30-day readmissions. This study will investigate the effectiveness of this platform in combination with CHW care in reducing readmissions for medically and socially complex patients with HF. Through a partnership with the digital platform creators, our team has helped develop a prototype for patients with HF cared for by CHWs ("digitally-enabled" CHW care). Specifically, the aim of this proposal are to assess the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary effectiveness of implementing a digitally-enabled CHW intervention compared to CHW care to reduce HF 30-day readmissions within a pilot RCT (n=50) My central hypothesis is that pairing patients with a digitally-enabled CHW intervention that addresses social and behavioral barriers to HF care, promotes communication with clinical care teams, and improves CHW efficiency will reduce 30-day readmissions while improving patient engagement with HF care.
Age ≥18 years
Residence within 30 miles of MGH
Being cared for by a cardiologist or primary care provider who manages their HF
Current use and ownership of a smart phone
Cognitive deficits that prevent digital or human engagement
Lack of health insurance
Invoked health proxy or guardianship status
History of smart phone use
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