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Implementing Critical Pathways and a Multidisciplinary Team Approach to Cardiovascular Disease Management

      According to several medical registries, there is a need to improve the care of post–myocardial infarction (MI) patients, especially those with left ventricular dysfunction (LVD) and heart failure. This can potentially be achieved by implementing disease management programs, which include critical pathways, patient education, and multidisciplinary hospital teams. Currently, algorithms for critical pathways, including discharge processes, are lacking for post-MI LVD patients. Such schemes can increase the use of evidence-based medicines proved to reduce mortality. Educational programs are aimed at increasing patients' awareness of their condition, promoting medication compliance, and encouraging the adoption of healthy behaviors; such programs have been shown to be effective in improving outcomes of post-MI LVD patients. Reductions in all-cause hospitalizations and medical costs as well as improved survival rates have been observed when a multidisciplinary team (a nurse, a pharmacist, and a hospitalist) is engaged in patient care. In addition, the use of the “pay for performance” method, which can be advantageous for patients, physicians, and hospitals, may potentially improve the care of post-MI patients with LVD.
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