BC’s Heart Failure Network Rolls Out The Heart Failure Strategy


As in most western countries, the burden of heart
failure (HF) in Canada is increasing, primarily as a
result of improved medical management, improved
diagnostics, increased survival among patients
with hypertension and coronary artery disease
and an aging population that are living longer and
becoming more susceptible to heart failure. the
most recent estimates indicate that there are about
500,000 Canadians living with hf and 50,000 new
patients being diagnosed each year.
(Ross, Howlett, Arnold, 2006).

BC HF prevalence rates are similar to national data and
indicate that more than 90,000 patients are living with
HF with this prevalence expected to double by 2030.
HF is also one of the most expensive chronic diseases
in BC with an annual estimated cost to the health care
system of $590M. HF is also the most common cause of
hospitalization of people over 65 years of age and has
an average one-year mortality rate of 33%. Accurate and
timely diagnosis is critical to initiate treatment that will
relieve HF symptoms, reduce hospitalizations, diminish
costs and improve survival. A provincial strategy to
improve HF services and care was developed in 2009 with
Health Authorities commencing their implementation
strategies in 2010. The three-year provincial strategy, led
by Cardiac Services BC (CSBC), is based on an investment
of $7.58M.

In addition, a provincial centre has been identified at
St. Paul’s Hospital with responsibilities to lead acute
HF management, collaborate on the development
of provincial HF quality indicators, HF resources,
guidelines, tools, patient self management resources,
education and research.
The main planning objectives for the provincial HF
strategy include:

  • Clear articulation and agreement on the roles and                                                  responsibilities of patients and providers (GPs,                                                                   internists, specialists, other health providers)
  • Development and dissemination of a common                                               understanding of optimal heart failure                                                                                management for providers and patients
  • Facilitation of active self-management of the disease
  • Promotion of the appropriate use of technologies                                                                   in consultations and/or (virtual) care
  • Targeting of areas of greatest need
  • Development, implementation, measurement and                                                          evaluation of adherence to best practice protocols/treatment                               algorithms.

regional or provincial hubs). The care
model is based on the principles of the
“Expanded Chronic Care Model” that
functions to ensure integration across
the care continuum, creates supportive
environments, activates communities,
develops and builds self-management
skills, engages proactive community
partners and integrates information
To support the implementation of the
Provincial HF plan, five working groups
have been established that include
representation from across the province.
Purpose of each group:

Database Working Group will
identify a minimum data set,
develop tools for data collection and
evaluate key HF measures.

Diagnostic Imaging Working
Group will identify requirements
for diagnosis and management of
HF patients, gaps in imaging and
provincial protocols or ordering tests.

Resource Development Working
Group will identify and develop HF
quality indicators, to standardize
HF order sets, protocols,
guidelines, to develop tools and
resources to optimize HF care and
facilitate patients to self-manage
their disease.

Special Populations Working Group
will identify, develop and implement
HF management strategies for
specialized populations (specifically,
Frail Elderly, South Asians, Chinese
and Aboriginal populations)

Telecommunications Working
Group will identify, develop and
implement strategies to improve
access and connectivity to promote
optimal HF management.

through the vision of BC’s HF
stakeholders (those involved with
the hf strategy), the provincial
heart failure strategy has moved
beyond a strategy to become
“BC’s heart failure network.”
the stakeholders within the
network will work together at
establishing resources, services and
infrastructure to deliver quality
care and quality services for hf
patients across the province.
The number of people with heart failure
is increasing throughout BC. To help
meet this challenge, BC’s Heart Failure
Network generates and shares accurate,
current, and relevant heart failure
information for health care providers
and patients in BC. We will do this
primarily through our central, online
hub (www.bcheartfailure.ca), which
will contain BC and Canadian specific
heart failure information including
practice guidelines, expert advice and
referral information. We’re also working
to improve access to diagnostics and
specialized heart failure care throughout
the province. We’re called “BC’s
network” because we work for the
people of BC who are living with heart
failure to improve their health and well being
regardless of geography or cultural
background. We are supported by the
Provincial Health Services Authority and
all of BC’s regional health authorities.

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