Ross H, Howlett J, Arnold JM, Liu P, O'Neill BJ, Brophy JM, Simpson CS, Sholdice MM, Knudtson M, Ross DB, Rottger J, Glasgow K; Canadian Cardiovascular Society Access to Care Working Group. Treating the right patient at the right time: access to heart failure care. Can J Cardiol. 2006 Jul;22(9):749-54.
Heart failure affects over 500,000 Canadians, and 50,000 new patients are diagnosed each year. The mortality remains staggering, with a five-year age-adjusted rate of 45%. Disease management programs for heart failure patients have been associated with improved outcomes, the use of evidence-based therapies, improved quality of care, and reduced costs, mortality and hospitalizations. Currently, national benchmarks and targets for access to care for cardiovascular procedures or office consultations do not exist. The present paper summarizes the currently available data, particularly focusing on the risk of adverse events as a function of waiting time, as well as on the identification of gaps in existing data on heart failure. Using best evidence and expert consensus, the present article also focuses on timely access to care for acute and chronic heart failure, including timely access to heart failure disease management programs and physician care (heart failure specialists, cardiologists, internists and general practitioners).