Increasing Cardiac Rehabilitation Participation – A Quick Summary

Cardiac rehabilitation is a critical tool in patient recovery after a cardiac event, offering numerous benefits that improve health and longevity. However, not enough patients participate in these life-saving programs. Here is a quick overview of the strategies we can use to increase participation rates.

  1. The National Goal: The Million Hearts® initiative has set a national goal of achieving 70% participation in cardiac rehabilitation by eligible patients. This effort needs the collaboration of diverse partners to improve awareness, promote best practices, and reduce barriers to participation in cardiac rehabilitation.
  2. Joining the Conversation: The Million Hearts® Cardiac Rehabilitation Collaborative (CRC) is a national forum for professionals aiming to reach this 70% goal. CRC convenes online every quarter, creating an opportunity for multidisciplinary professionals to share knowledge and strategies.
  3. Key Messages to Promote:
    • Cardiac rehabilitation saves lives and offers numerous benefits such as reducing the risk of a heart attack and rehospitalization, aiding recovery, and enhancing medication and activity management.
    • Unfortunately, only a fraction of eligible patients participate in cardiac rehabilitation, even after being referred. It’s crucial to ensure that referrals lead to enrollment and continued participation.
    • Certain groups, including women, minorities, older individuals, and those with other medical conditions, are less likely to be referred to cardiac rehabilitation. We need to address this disparity.
    • A strong recommendation from a patient’s physician significantly increases the likelihood of participation. This recommendation should be reinforced by healthcare professionals, who can also identify and refer eligible patients, implement automatic referrals in order sets, and follow up with referred patients post-discharge to ensure enrollment.
  4. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Change Package: This toolkit from Million Hearts® is a collection of specific interventions that quality improvement teams can select to boost cardiac rehabilitation utilization. Teams are encouraged to discuss the areas of cardiac rehabilitation that need improvement and select interventions that best address those issues.

To learn more about the strategies and key messages, you can view the full PDF below.