Despite recommendations in clinical practice guidelines, evidence suggests that utilization of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) following indicated cardiac events is low. Referral strategies, such as automatic referral, have been advocated to improve CR utilization. In this Review, we evaluate the effects of referral strategies on rates of CR referral and enrollment. Referral strategies are categorized as ‘automatic’ (the use of electronic health records or systematic discharge order sets), as ‘liaison’ (discussions with allied health-care providers), or as ‘other’ (for example, the use of motivational letter to patients). The highest rates of CR referral have been achieved in studies implementing automatic referral orders, whereas the highest rates of CR enrollment have resulted from a combination of automatic and liaison methods. Overall, innovative referral strategies significantly increase CR utilization. While further investigation is needed, institutions should evaluate their CR referral practice in light of these findings.
Gravely-Witte, Shannon, Yvonne W. Leung, Rajiv Nariani, Hala Tamim, Paul Oh, Victoria M. Chan, and Sherry L. Grace. “Effects of cardiac rehabilitation referral strategies on referral and enrollment rates.” Nature Reviews. Cardiology (December 8, 2009). http://www.nature.com/nrcardio/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nrcardio.2009.223.html.