Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a costly, debilitating and deadly condition that has reached near epidemic proportions in Australia. In the absence of a permanent cure for CHF, the number of people affected by CHF has risen beyond 350,000 and is expected to increase by 20-30% in the next 20 years. We recently reviewed the benefits of applying nurse-led, CHF management programs (CHF-MPs) to typically old and fragile patients, in whom recurrent hospital admissions and a premature death are common. We confirmed the results of pioneering Australian research that CHF-MPs dramatically improve health outcomes in CHF. CHF-MPs now form part of the recommended gold-standard management of CHF. However, we also have evidence that only a small proportion of patients are exposed to a CHF-MP in Australia. Residual issues such as consumer preference and the cost of applying these programs are hindering their wide-spread application. The WHICH? Study addresses this _road block� to implementing a potentially valuable health care service by tackling a number of critical issues: which form of CHF-MP (home or specialist clinic-based follow-up), will produce the best health outcomes, save the most money and meet the needs of consumers at the same time? To answer this question, we will undertake a randomised, head-to-head study of a home versus clinic-based CHF-MP, in 1000 recently hospitalised CHF patients recruited from SA, VIC, NSW and QLD. Patterns and of health care and consumer preferences and quality of life will then be compared for these two different forms of CHF-MP from a combined health economic, health policy and consumer perspective to determine the best form of CHF-MP to be applied. A _consensus� vision for applying an Australia-wide service will then be developed. The potential impact of the results of the study will then be modelled on the status of Australian CHF-MPs in the year 2010 and a blue-print for action devised.
|Short title||The WHICH? Study of consumer-friendly and cost-saving heart failure management|
|Effective start/end date||1/01/07 → 31/12/12|