Helping to Improve the Lives of Those With Chronic Conditions

Oct 06, 2011, 14:40 ET from Adena Health System

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio, Oct. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Are you among the more than 145 million people, or almost half of all Americans, who live with a chronic illness or disease, running the gamut from heart disease to diabetes and asthma to depression?

Historically, treatments for chronic conditions have been complicated, making it difficult for patients to comply. Management of chronic disease also takes a toll on health systems, which are under ever greater government scrutiny to reduce costs and improve outcomes.

Fortunately, Adena Health System is helping to address the special needs of patients with chronic conditions. A pilot study that concluded earlier this year has led to dramatic improvements in the care of patients with Congestive Heart Failure.

The study was so successful, other areas of the health system, including Adena's physician offices, have begun using these new techniques.

"This program has been the greatest help I have ever received to assist in managing my heart failure," said a 75-year-old patient, who participated in the model. "By all of us working together, my life has changed."

"It's pleasing to know we can make such an impact on patients," said Carrie Hartsaugh, RN, BSN, who had a significant role in the creation and implementation of the model.

Key to the pilot study's success, she said, was vastly improved access to Primary Care Physicians; the introduction of Nurse Navigators, like herself; the exchange of information between PCPs and Nurse Navigators; and the involvement of a multidisciplinary team that included social workers and registered dieticians, as well as home care and information technology staff.

"Patients who may have found themselves lost in the system before are on the radar screens of physicians, nurse navigators and other healthcare professionals like never before," she said.

Today, for example, before hospitalized patients with congestive heart failure are released from the medical center, an appointment already has been scheduled with their primary care physician. And within 48 hours of discharge, patients receive a call from their patient navigator to check on their status.

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About Adena Health System
Adena Health System is an independent, not-for-profit and locally controlled healthcare organization serving the needs of 13 counties in south-central Ohio and employing more than 2,400 people. Adena provides specialty services typically found in larger medical centers, like open heart surgery, cardiac catheterization, cancer care and advanced orthopedic procedures, including reverse shoulder surgery, total joint replacement and minimally invasive spine surgery. The health system is based in Chillicothe, OH.

SOURCE Adena Health System