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University of Utah Hospital Among First Selected for American College of Cardiology Patient Navigator Program

University of Utah Hospital is one of 35 hospitals in the country selected to participate in the American College of Cardiology Patient Navigator Program, the first program of its kind in cardiology designed to support hospitals in providing personalized services to heart disease patients and help them avoid a quick return to the hospital.

"One of our major issues is communication. Discharged patients' medical summaries often never reach their primary care provider in a timely manner," said Lillian Khor, M.D., cardiology at University of Utah Health Care. "This new program gives us the framework for collaboration between our patients, primary care providers, and all involved in patient care."

Nearly one in five patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, often for conditions seemingly unrelated to the original diagnosis. Readmissions can be related to issues like stresses within the hospital, fragility on discharge, lack of understanding of discharge instructions and inability to carry out discharge instructions.

The ACC created the Patient Navigator Program to support a team of caregivers at selected hospitals to help patients overcome challenges during their hospital stay and in the weeks following discharge when they are most vulnerable. Hospitals chosen were given funding to establish a program that supports a culture of patient-centered care that can be implemented in other hospitals in the future. AstraZeneca is the founding sponsor of the ACC Patient Navigator Program.

"We do not have all the answers for the problems within our community, we don't even have all the statistics pertaining to our immediate community and wider region of healthcare provision, but we are here with a common mission to improve cardiovascular outcomes," said Khor.

"The ACC Patient Navigator Program provides evidence-based approaches to reducing hospital readmissions by meeting the unique needs of each patient," said ACC President Patrick O'Gara, M.D., FACC. "University of Utah Hospital's dedication to quality is a key component of this program, which emphasizes a team approach to help patients make a seamless and secure transition from the hospital to the home."

Hospitals in the program were selected based on their commitment to quality as demonstrated through participation in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry ACTION Registry-GWTG and Hospital to Home Initiative. Nearly 400 hospitals were eligible for the program, with only 35 ultimately selected based on readmission rates, having recognized leaders in cardiology on staff, an established culture of quality already part of the hospital infrastructure and varied geographic location.

About UUHC

University of Utah Health Care is the Intermountain West's only academic health care system, providing leading-edge and compassionate medicine for the people of Utah and a referral area encompassing five states and more than 10 percent of the continental United States. The health system includes ten community clinics and four hospitals – University of Utah Hospital; the University of Utah Orthopaedic Center; University Neuropsychiatric Institute; and Huntsman Cancer Hospital – with more than 1,300 physicians offering more than 150 medical specialties. For the past four years, University of Utah Health Care (UUHC) has ranked in the top 10 among all U.S. academic medical centers that participate in the rigorous University HealthSystem Consortium Quality and Accountability study. The University is also consistently ranked as among the country's best hospitals by U.S. News and World Report.

The American College of Cardiology is a 47,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, provides professional medical education, promotes cardiovascular research and bestows credentials on cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more information, visit

Heart in chest