HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Wakefield BJ, Drwal K, Paez M, Grover S, Franciscus C, Reisinger HS, Kaboli PJ, El Accaoui R. Creating and disseminating a home-based cardiac rehabilitation program: experience from the Veterans Health Administration. BMC cardiovascular disorders. 2019 Nov 6; 19(1):242.
Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs provide significant benefit for people with cardiovascular disease. Despite these benefits, such services are not universally available. We designed and evaluated a national home-based CR (HBCR) program in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The primary aim of the study was to examine barriers and facilitators associated with site-level implementation of HBCR.
This study used a convergent parallel mixed-methods design with qualitative data to analyze the process of implementation, quantitative data to determine low and high uptake of the HBCR program, and the integration of the two to determine which facilitators and barriers were associated with adoption. Data were drawn from 16 VHA facilities, and included semi-structured interviews with multiple stakeholders, document analysis, and quantitative analysis of CR program attendance codes. Qualitative data were analyzed using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research codes including three years of document analysis and 22 interviews.
Comparing high and low uptake programs, readiness for implementation (leadership engagement, available resources, and access to knowledge and information), planning, and engaging champions and opinion leaders were key to success. High uptake sites were more likely to seek information from the external facilitator, compared to low uptake sites. There were few adaptations to the design of the program at individual sites.
Consistent and supportive leadership, both clinical and administrative, are critical elements to getting HBCR programs up and running and sustaining programs over time. All sites in this study had external funding to develop their program, but high adopters both made better use of those resources and were able to leverage existing resources in the setting. These data will inform broader policy regarding use of HBCR services.