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The Heart Failure Readmission Intervention by Variable Early Follow-up (THRIVE) Study: A Pragmatic Randomized Trial

In-person clinic follow-up within 7 days after discharge from a heart failure hospitalization is associated with lower 30-day readmission. However, health systems and patients may find it difficult to complete an early postdischarge clinic visit, especially during the current pandemic. We evaluated the effect on 30-day readmission and death of follow-up within 7 days postdischarge guided by an initial structured nonphysician telephone visit compared with follow-up guided by an initial clinic visit with a physician. We conducted a pragmatic randomized trial in a large integrated healthcare delivery system. Adults being discharged home after hospitalization for heart failure were randomly assigned to either an initial telephone visit with a nurse or pharmacist to guide follow-up or an initial in-person clinic appointment with primary care physicians providing usual care within the first 7 days postdischarge. Telephone appointments included a structured protocol enabling medication titration, laboratory ordering, and booking urgent clinic visits as needed under physician supervision. Outcomes included 30-day readmissions and death and frequency and type of completed follow-up within 7 days of discharge. Among 2091 participants (mean age 78 years, 44% women), there were no significant differences in 30-day heart failure readmission (8.6% telephone, 10.6% clinic, P=0.11), all-cause readmission (18.8% telephone, 20.6% clinic, P=0.30), and all-cause death (4.0% telephone, 4.6% clinic, P=0.49). Completed 7-day follow-up was higher in 1027 patients randomized to telephone follow-up (92%) compared with 1064 patients assigned to physician clinic follow-up (79%, P<0.001). Overall frequency of clinic visits during the first 7 days postdischarge was lower in participants assigned to nonphysician telephone guided follow-up (48%) compared with physician clinic-guided follow-up (77%, P<0.001). Early, structured telephone follow-up after hospitalization for heart failure can increase 7-day follow-up and reduce in-person visits with comparable 30-day clinical outcomes within an integrated care delivery framework. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT03524534.

Authors: Lee, Keane K; Thomas, Rachel C; Tan, Thida C; Leong, Thomas K; Steimle, Anthony; Go, Alan S

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2020 10;13(10):e006553. Epub 2020-09-24.

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