AHA: Get with the program
The American Heart Association launched the "Get with the Guidelines-Heart Failure" (GWTG-HF) initiative at this week's American College of Cardiology Conference, March 6 - 8, in Orlando, Fla.
The new program, based on guidelines jointly developed by the AHA and ACC, is to help hospitals consistently implement guidelines to improve care and save lives of heart failure patients.
Congestive heart failure affects nearly 5 million Americans and is the most frequently cause of hospitalization for patients over 65. Yet, many of these patients are not being treated and discharged according to guidelines, AHA reported. This may lead to a significant number of unnecessary and costly hospitalizations of heart failure patients. 
To counteract this, the AHA said core components of GWTG includes in-hospital initiation of evidence-based heart failure therapies; quality improvements training through collaborative workshops to help hospitals create an infrastructure and multidisciplinary team; facilitation of best practices sharing; implementation and decision-support tools, such as web-based patient management tool that generates real-time reports to benchmark performance on key quality indicators and provides access to updated cardiovascular science; and patient education materials customized to their individual risk profile.
More than 800 U.S. hospitals are participating in GWTG existing modules already developed for coronary artery disease and stroke, AHA said.
Any hospital can participate in GWTG-HF, AHA said, and it may be an easy transition for hospitals that may have participated in the OPTIMIZE-HF (organized program to initiate lifesaving treatment in hospitalized patients with heart failure) registry.
For additional information about GWTG-HF, visit www.americanheart.org/gwtg-hf or E-mail guidelineinfo@heart.org.