Friday, October 25, 2013

Making the business case for cardiac rehab programs

Making the business case for cardiac rehab programsYou know the saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to cardiac rehabilitation, a study presented recently at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress has the numbers to prove it. "We found that cardiac rehabilitation programs have a financial 'return on investment' of about seven per cent," says author Dr. Dennis Humen, a professor of medicine at Western University. "Not only is cardiac rehab the pillar of preventing a second cardiac event; it also makes good business sense." The study also revealed that, for patients, the "return on investment" for participating in these programs also makes good heart sense: cardiac rehab leads to a 31 per cent reduction in hospital readmission and a 26 per cent drop in cardiovascular mortality. "There are more than 60,000 hospitalizations for heart attacks in Canada each year and another 160,000 due to coronary heart disease," says Dr. Humen. "This opens a huge window of potential: if we could provide intensive cardiac rehab services to just 60,000 individuals, there could be a reduction in healthcare costs for this group of about $8.5 million per year." If CR reduces cardiac events, mortality and hospital readmission rates, why isn't it funded more broadly? Governments often cite high costs as a barrier to funding comprehensive CR, which combines regular exercise with intensive education around lifestyle changes. Yet the Western University study shows that on a financial basis the investment is more than offset by the ensuing cost savings

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