Implementing a Heart Care Navigation team to optimize acute myocardial infarction (AMI) care transitions may improve compliance with guideline-based care and patient outcomes, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 2019 Cardiovascular Summit, held February 14-16, 2019, in Orlando, Florida.   

The Heart Care Navigation team, assembled in the summer of 2017, was comprised of 1 health advocate and 2 full-time nurse navigators. The team enhanced inpatient and outpatient care by providing patients with AMI direct access to a clinical resource during and after their hospital stay. Improving the efficiency of the hospital discharge process was another successfully implemented intervention.

During each inpatient encounter, a nurse navigator focused on health education, care coordination, and quality improvement measures. Examples include promoting self-management, assisting with timely access to follow-up care, and addressing the patient’s questions or concerns for a period of 90 days following discharge.

Comparing pre-implementation (July 2016-June 2017) to post-implementation (July 2017-June 2018) of the Heart Care Navigation team, results showed a reduction in AMI 30-day same-facility readmissions observed/expected ratios (0.58 vs 0.42), a reduction in AMI 30-day mortality rate (5.75% vs 4.57%), and an increase in follow-up appointments made prior to discharge (78% vs 96%). Data from the Chest Pain—MI Registry showed an increase in overall defect-free care (83.3% vs 85.1%) and an increase in cardiac rehabilitation referrals (85.7% vs 88.6%).

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“Results indicate successful impact of the Heart Care Navigation Team at the System’s quaternary facility,” the authors concluded. “Similar programs were implemented at two additional tertiary care facilities within the System, both of which have yielded similarly positive results.”


Furr A. A Heart care navigation team improves acute myocardial infarction care and outcomes. Presented at: 2019 Cardiovascular Summit; February 14-16, 2019; Orlando, FL. Abstract 25.