Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT) carried out a cardiac rehabilitation (CR) service redesign aimed at optimising patient recruitment and retention and decreasing readmissions.
A single centre observational study and local service evaluation were carried out to describe the impact of the novel technology-enabled CR model. Data were collected for adult patients referred for CR at BHT, retrospectively for patients referred during the 12-month pre-implementation period (Cohort 1) and prospectively for patients referred during the 12-month post-implementation period (Cohort 2). The observational study included 350 patients in each cohort, seasonally matched; the service evaluation included all eligible patients. No data imputation was performed.
In the observational study, a higher proportion of referred patients entered CR in Cohort 2 (84.3%) than Cohort 1 (76.0%, P = 0.006). Fewer patients in Cohort 2 had ≥1 cardiac-related emergency readmission within 6 months of discharge (4.3%) than Cohort 1 (8.9%, P = 0.015); readmissions within 30 days and 12 months were not significantly different. Median time to CR entry from discharge was significantly shorter in Cohort 2 (35.0 days) than Cohort 1 (46.0 days, P < 0.001). The CR completion rate was significantly higher in Cohort 2 (75.6%) than Cohort 1 (47.4%, P < 0.001); median CR duration for completing patients was significantly longer in Cohort 2 (80.0 days) than Cohort 1 (49.0 days, P < 0.001). Overall, similar results were observed in the service evaluation.
Introduction of the novel technology-enabled CR model was associated with short-term improvements in emergency readmissions and sustained increases in CR entry, duration and completion.