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Checklist keeps heart failure patients out of hospital

The Tennessean, March 26, 2012

An old-fashioned checklist has the potential to keep patients with heart failure out of the hospital—and save Medicare billions of dollars, a small new study suggests. The checklist aims to help ensure that patients stay healthy after discharge, instead of quickly returning to the hospital because their symptoms return or get worse, according to a study of 96 patients presented Saturday at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting. The list prompts doctors to make sure that patients understand when and how to take their medications, for example, and how to monitor their blood pressure and modify their diet and exercise. Only 2 percent of patients whose doctors used the checklist were readmitted within a month, compared to 20 percent of other patients, according to the study.