Heart Failure Hospitalizations

The goal of this project is to better understand why patients with heart failure periodically experience severe worsening of their condition to a degree that leads to hospitalization. Identifying the specific causes of such deteriorations will permit participating hospitals to design and implement focused interventions targeted to each important cause. The hospitals and health systems participating in this project, which was launched in collaboration with the American College of Physicians, investigated how hospitals and community-based physician practices can work together more effectively to prevent avoidable hospitalizations for people with heart failure.

Project Team

Cedars-Sinai Health System, California
Cleveland Clinic, Ohio
Froedtert Hospital, Wisconsin
North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, New York
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Illinois
The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Maryland
Virtua, New Jersey

In collaboration with the American College of Physicians, all project teams used Robust Process Improvement® (RPI®) to identify causes and develop solutions to avoidable heart failure hospitalizations. RPI is a fact-based, systematic, and data-driven problem-solving methodology that incorporates tools and concepts from Lean Six Sigma and change management. The methodology and solutions were then tested, validated, and spread to other organizations through a pilot project with additional hospitals that did not have Lean Six Sigma expertise.

Project Outcomes

The project team worked to:

  • Identify the specific causes of these deteriorations, permitting participating hospitals to design focused solutions targeted to each cause.
  • Investigate how hospitals and community-based physician practices can work together more effectively to prevent avoidable hospitalizations for people with heart failure.
  • Make lessons learned and solutions developed widely available to all health care organizations.

These targeted solutions will ultimately improve the quality of life for people with heart failure and reduce unnecessary costs associated with their care.