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Saint Michael's recognized by Duke Clinical Research Institute for enrolling highest number of patients in clinical trial

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  • Written By: Saint Michael's Press Office
Saint Michael's recognized by Duke Clinical Research Institute for enrolling highest number of patients in clinical trial

Saint Michael's Medical Center has been recognized by the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) for enrolling the highest number of participants in the Northeast in an ongoing clinical trial seeking to improve the outcomes of patients with congestive heart failure.

Saint Michael's is one of 160 hospitals nationwide participating in the CONNECT-HF clinical trial, which is focused on 7,040 patients after they leave the hospital for treatment of heart failure.

"Saint Michael's participating in the Duke clinical trial will help reduce readmission of patients with congestive heart failure, which prevents Medicare penalties," said Dr. Abbas Shehadeh, the director of the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab and cardiovascular research at Saint Michael’s, who leading the clinical trial for hospital. "It is a win-win. It improves patient's outcome so they can live healthier lives and saves the hospital money."

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reduces payments to hospitals with excessive readmissions.

“This is a brilliant achievement by Dr. Shehadeh’s cardiology research team in this nationwide clinical trial and moreover, a positive recognition of Saint Michael’s continued efforts to improve delivery of quality care to our patients,” said Dr. Hamid Shaaban, Saint Michael’s chief medical officer.

“There is a substantial morbidity, mortality and health care expenditures associated with heart failure,” Shaaban said. “Enrolling our patients in trials like CONNECT-HF will improve care coordination, management of comorbidities, and enhance patient self-management which may ultimately help to reduce readmissions and prevent hospitalizations.”

A member of the Prime Healthcare network, Saint Michael’s has been a leading hospital for heart care for many years. It was the first hospital in New Jersey to perform open-heart surgery and cardiac angioplasty and it was ranked as high performing for treating heart failure by U.S. News and World Report its 2018 Best Hospitals Rankings

Heart failure is one of the most common reasons for hospital stays in the United States, and nearly 1 in 5 patients who are in the hospital because of heart failure, end up in the hospital again within 30 days.

“We aim to improve cardiac care, hence preventing re-hospitalization,” said Raymond Monel, coordinator of research at Saint Michael’s. “We look forward to enrolling every eligible patient who presents to our facility, as we make every effort to consult with family members and professional caregivers to provide the best and continuous support group."

Researchers from DCRI want to help figure out how to provide the best care possible to people with heart failure, to improve their health and to lower their number of hospital stays.

“We have lots of new treatment options for patients with heart failure,” said the Dr. Adam DeVore, principal investigator for CONNECT-HF at DCRI. “We have new medicines, devices and strategies to help combat heart failure. But, at least in the past, with heart failure and other conditions, it can take a very long time to incorporate new evidence into routine care. Hopefully, we can do better with CONNECT-HF.”

Once discharged from the hospital for treatment of heart failure, patients will receive calls from researchers after six weeks, three months, six months and 1 year. The researchers ask questions about a patient's health, current medicine use, and whether they have been readmitted to the hospital.

DCRI researchers say the information from the clinical trial will help hospitals figure out how to better support patients with heart failure in the future.

“Our aim is to try and learn what different incentives we can use to try and help promote healthy behavior change,” DeVore said.