Disease Management Update
Volume IV, No. 27
October 25, 2007
Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,
This week's DM Update focuses on healthy hearts and presents two possible techniques for maintaining heart health in your patients. Visit HIN's Blog to read (and hear) about two nurses from Hackensack University Medical Center who are pursuing perfect care with their award-winning heart failure team.
Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Laura M. Greene
Editor, Disease Management Update
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Table of Contents
- Garlic: Bad for Your Breath, Good for Your Heart
- Disease Management Q&A: Opening a Heart Failure Clinic
- HealthSounds Podcast: Pursuing Perfect Care by Treating the Whole Patient
- Stem Cell Therapy is a Possibility for Heart Patients
- Survey of the Month: Healthcare Trends in 2008
- Effective Care Management
1. Garlic: Bad for Your Breath, Good for Your Heart
Eating garlic is one of the best ways to lower high blood pressure and protect yourself from cardiovascular disease. A new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) shows this protective effect is closely linked to how much hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is produced from garlic compounds interacting with red blood cells.
The UAB researchers found this interaction triggered red blood cells to release H2S, which then led to the relaxation of blood vessels. Fresh garlic was used at a concentration equal to eating two cloves. The resulting H2S production caused up to 72 percent vessel relaxation in rat arteries.
“The role of garlic compounds in preventing platelet aggregation, which can trigger a heart attack or stroke, and in limiting cancer growth and the progression of several diseases is well documented,” said David Kraus, Ph.D., a UAB associate professor in the Departments of Environmental Health Sciences and Biology and the study’s lead author.
To see more of this study's results, please visit:
2. Disease Management Q&A: Opening a Heart Failure Clinic
Each week, healthcare professionals respond to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Lenore Blank, a nurse practitioner and administrative manager of Hackensack University Medical Center's (HUMC) heart failure and pulmonary hypertension team. Her team is part of Pursuing Perfection, a healthcare quality initiative from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement.
Question: In the HUMC care model for the heart failure unit, the nurse must intervene when predetermined practice guidelines are not followed. How do you educate nurses and physicians about these roles?
Response: (Lenore Blank) We saw it was important to empower the primary care nurse — the nurse that’s actually doing the daily hands-on work with that patient. We educate her and empower her to be able to communicate to the physician what the patient needs, for example, if certain quality indicators were not met. We tried to empower everyone and bring everyone into the loop and make it a multidisciplinary team and shared by all so that everybody was on the same page. If the primary care nurse is not effective with the physician, she can ask the advanced practice nurse (APN) to speak with the physician. If there is still some obstruction, we have an avenue to bring it up to our rounding physician on multidisciplinary rounds and upwards.
We’ve been fairly successful with this because our administration embraced this early on. We’ve had huge administrative support in this regard, so it’s been a cultural change in our institution. Everybody knows that these things are required and that this does improve patient care and outcomes. We’ve worked very well as a group and as a team.
For more details on successful management of heart failure patients, please visit:
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3. HealthSounds Podcast: Pursuing Perfect Care by Treating the Whole Patient
In this week's disease management podcast, Lenore Blank, a nurse practitioner and administrative manager of Hackensack University Medical Center's (HUMC) heart failure and pulmonary hypertension team, Michelle Gilbert, education coordinator of the heart failure team and pulmonary hypertension program at HUMC, Donna Isgett, vice president for clinical effectiveness at McLeod Health, and Leanne Huminski, chief nursing officer for McLeod Regional Medical Center, describe how their organizations are implementing perfect care processes in heart failure and medication management with details on how they've implemented their programs and the results they are achieving.
To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:
4. Stem Cell Therapy is a Possibility for Heart Patients
In a new University of Florida (UF) study, doctors will test whether injecting stem cells into the heart helps restore blood flow to the organ by prompting new blood vessels to grow.
UF researchers plan to test the experimental therapy in people with severe coronary artery disease and daily chest pain who have not responded to traditional medications or surgical procedures designed to restore blood flow, such as angioplasty or bypass surgery.
In the prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, known as the Autologous Cellular Therapy CD34-Chronic Myocardial Ischemia Trial, or ACT34-CMI, UF researchers will study 15 patients to determine whether a person’s own stem cells can be used to effectively and safely treat chronic reductions in blood flow to the heart, improving symptoms and long-term outcomes. They also will evaluate whether participants report improved quality of life and exercise tolerance, and whether the heart functions better.
To see more of this study's results, please visit:
5. Survey of the Month: Healthcare Trends in 2008
Complete our survey on healthcare trends in 2008 and you'll get a free executive summary of the compiled results.
To participate in this survey and receive its results, please visit:
6. Effective Care Management
As healthcare costs and complexity continue to rise, care management must become more efficient. And collaboration across the entire healthcare spectrum is the key. As payers, providers and members/patients come together — enabled by automated technologies — care management will at last deliver on its promise.
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