Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
The outpatient care of the heart failure (HF) patient is fragmented due to the lack of evidence-based practice guidelines use. The primary goal of this project was to improve the care of the HF patient in the outpatient arena through use of clinical pathways using the logic model as the project framework. The intervention was carried out over a 4-week period on a convenience, random sample of patients (n = 80) attending a cardiology practice. The patients were recruited from 2 physicians' patient populations and were selected based on an adult diagnosis of HF, reduced ejection fraction of <40% at some point in time, and the New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II-V. Comparisons were made in the documentation of care between patients on or off the pathway. The intervention included documentation of patient education, care follow-up, medications, NYHA functional class, and symptom exacerbation, documented in the electronic medical record. The quality of care data were evaluated based on 3 of the Joint Commission core measures for outpatient care of the HF patient. Additional data were collected regarding use of the clinical pathway based on provider and week of implementation. Data were analyzed via a Chi-square test of independence comparing pathway use by provider and use of pathway as study progressed. The comparative results show statistically significant differences in use of the pathway by provider and a statistically significant increase in use during the project . The quality of care results varied in statistical significance. The pathway utilization increased over time and provided a method for standardizing documentation of care for the HF patient in this outpatient clinic, a benefit for HF patients and providers in this cardiology practice and beyond.