This initiative is a regional quality improvement strategy with the goal of best practice care as a standard for all patients admitted to hospitals within the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) with cardiovascular disease. Partnering hospitals have implemented Guidelines Applied in Practice (GAP) discharge tools for patients with a diagnosis of heart failure (HF) or acute coronary syndrome (ACS). These tools are adapted from a program of the American College of Cardiology.
GAP tools are a paper-based patient tools developed with evidence-based best practice guidelines for pharmacotherapy and lifestyle modification in addition to promoting self-management strategies for patients with chronic disease. The guidelines have been proven to improve patient outcomes and reduce re-hospitalization. Further, patients receive a copy of the tool for his/her primary care physician as a way to promote continuity of care. The use of standardized tools promoting evidence-based guidelines improves patient outcomes by decreasing re-admission rates, decreasing mortality and improving medication adherence.
Overall, there is an improvement in patient outcomes with the use of GAP tools. The Champlain LHIN paper-based GAP tool project provides organizations with a process for data collection and guideline summaries as well as quality performance reports. Education and support for partnering hospitals may be provided by the Heart Institute’s Regional Program Educator.