University of North Carolina (UNC) Health Care

University of North Carolina (UNC) Health Care received $1.74 million for a 3 year project to establish a network of five atrial fibrillation transitions clinics across the state of North Carolina to help more patients presenting in emergency department, urgent care and primary care settings to avoid hospitalization through linkage and quick access to a specialty cardiologist/pharmacist team for management and patient education.

Need

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common adult cardiac dysrhythmia, with an estimated prevalence of 12-16 million AF patients living in the United States by 2050. The cost of care for AF is an estimated $6.65 billion, with nearly 3/4 of this cost due to hospitalizations. Nearly half of patients with AF are not appropriately treated for prevention of stroke, the most consequential complication of AF. Often, patients are not educated about AF and lack access to comprehensive specialty care to manage their disease. A lack of awareness about and variation in the quality of AF treatment have been identified as underlying causes of racial disparities in stroke mortality.

Project

University of North Carolina Health Care is a not-for-profit, safety-net integrated healthcare system comprising of ten hospitals and a network of providers across North Carolina that serve uninsured and Medicaid patients. UNC Health Care will implement a model of care delivery increasing access to AF specialty clinics with an easy transition through multiple points of entry with goals of reducing costs and improving quality. In an initial 15-month pilot program of an AF transition clinic, the UNC Medical Center demonstrated a reduction in unnecessary hospitalizations from 81% to 57%. UNC Health Care aims to expand this novel care pathway to create four new AF open-access clinics across the state of North Carolina to expedite access to specialty care for AF patients and assist in AF management. 

Project Leader

Anil Gehi, anil_gehi@med.unc.edu