A few studies have found that patients with heart failure (HF) living in less densely populated areas have reduced use of services and poorer outcomes. However, there is a lack of evidence regarding transport accessibility measured as the actual distance between the patient's home and the healthcare facility. The aim of this study was to investigate if different urbanisation levels and travel times to healthcare services are associated with the processes of care and the outcomes of HF. This retrospective cohort study included patients residing in the Local Healthcare Authority of Bologna (2915 square kilometres) who were discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of HF between 1 January and 31 December 2017. Six-month study outcomes included both process (cardiology follow-up visits) and outcome measures (all-cause readmissions, emergency room visits, all-cause mortality). Of the 2022 study patients, 963 (47.6%) lived in urban areas, 639 (31.6%) in intermediate density areas, and 420 (20.8%) in rural communities. Most patients lived ≤30 minutes away from the nearest healthcare facility, either inpatient or outpatient. After controlling for a number of individual factors, no significant association between travel times and outcomes was present. However, rural patients as opposed to urban patients were more likely to see a cardiologist during follow-up (OR 1.42, 99% CI 1.03-1.96). These follow-up visits were associated with reduced mortality within 6 months of discharge (OR 0.53, 99% CI 0.32-0.87). We also found that multidisciplinary interventions for HF were more common in rural than in urban settings (18.8% vs. 4.0%). In conclusion, travel times had no impact on the quality of care for patients with HF. Differences between urban and rural patients were possibly mediated by more proximal factors, some of which are potential targets for intervention such as the availability and utilisation of follow-up cardiology services and multidisciplinary models of care.

Are degree of urbanisation and travel times to healthcare services associated with the processes of care and outcomes of heart failure? A retrospective cohort study based on administrative data

Jacopo Lenzi;Vera Maria Avaldi;Carlo Descovich;Maria Pia Fantini
2019

Abstract

A few studies have found that patients with heart failure (HF) living in less densely populated areas have reduced use of services and poorer outcomes. However, there is a lack of evidence regarding transport accessibility measured as the actual distance between the patient's home and the healthcare facility. The aim of this study was to investigate if different urbanisation levels and travel times to healthcare services are associated with the processes of care and the outcomes of HF. This retrospective cohort study included patients residing in the Local Healthcare Authority of Bologna (2915 square kilometres) who were discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of HF between 1 January and 31 December 2017. Six-month study outcomes included both process (cardiology follow-up visits) and outcome measures (all-cause readmissions, emergency room visits, all-cause mortality). Of the 2022 study patients, 963 (47.6%) lived in urban areas, 639 (31.6%) in intermediate density areas, and 420 (20.8%) in rural communities. Most patients lived ≤30 minutes away from the nearest healthcare facility, either inpatient or outpatient. After controlling for a number of individual factors, no significant association between travel times and outcomes was present. However, rural patients as opposed to urban patients were more likely to see a cardiologist during follow-up (OR 1.42, 99% CI 1.03-1.96). These follow-up visits were associated with reduced mortality within 6 months of discharge (OR 0.53, 99% CI 0.32-0.87). We also found that multidisciplinary interventions for HF were more common in rural than in urban settings (18.8% vs. 4.0%). In conclusion, travel times had no impact on the quality of care for patients with HF. Differences between urban and rural patients were possibly mediated by more proximal factors, some of which are potential targets for intervention such as the availability and utilisation of follow-up cardiology services and multidisciplinary models of care.
PLOS ONE
Jacopo Lenzi, Vera Maria Avaldi, Dario Molinazzi, Carlo Descovich, Stefano Urbinati, Veronica Cappelli, Maria Pia Fantini
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/717709
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