In 2017, CardioVascular leaders from throughout Wellforce had an idea: convene a group of experts – nurses, doctors, advance care providers, pharmacists, educators, administrators, quality and IT experts, and more - and together identify and begin to drive best practices for CardioVascular care across all Wellforce organizations.
Called WINCC, or the Wellforce-wide INitiative in Cardiovascular Care, the group decided first to focus on Heart Failure (HF) and Atrial Fibrillation (AF), given the high prevalence of these disorders and significant practice variation. The aim would be to find and foster best practices to improve patient health, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and provider satisfaction at all Wellforce sites. One of the key educational initiatives for WINCC was to standardize Heart Failure and Atrial Fibrillation patient education materials across the inpatient, outpatient, and homecare settings of Wellforce. Over several months, WINCC educational committees worked to develop and create a comprehensive collection of information for newly diagnosed heart failure and atrial fibrillation patients in our care.
The heart failure patient education packet incorporates many materials that were already in use at each of our institutions, in addition to some updates to this existing content based on the committee’s review. The HF brochure includes a ‘zone chart’ to guide patients’ decisions in the management of symptoms as well as a pictorial guide of the “dos and don’ts” for patients – everything from how to eat less salt to giving yourself a daily “checkup.” In addition, the group developed a medication tracker and a weight tracker to help patients and their caregivers monitor any post-discharge fluctuations in weight or blood pressure.
The atrial fibrillation committee decided to use an informative, easy-to-read guide, published by the Heart Rhythm Society, to assist their patients. This educational piece addresses symptoms, potential complications, and goals of therapy. The aim is to give patients options for addressing their condition and reducing the risk of stroke associated with atrial fibrillation. The materials are being distributed across the entire Wellforce network and translated into 5 languages, including the top 3 languages at each hospital.
The primary ambassadors for these education materials will be the new nurse navigators, two of whom are already in place. These navigators have begun to identify patients with newly diagnosed heart failure or atrial fibrillation, are teaching patients and family members how to manage the relevant condition, and are ensuring that patients have appropriate follow up care scheduled. WINCC teams will track the program’s success through key metrics and a system-wide registry, developed by quality and IT experts within the group, and will continue to identify opportunities for improvement.
WINCC is already making a difference in the lives of patients and is a prime example of the impact that is possible through a Wellforce-wide collaborative clinical effort.