The HEART Pathway and Hospital Cost Savings

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Chest pain is a common complaint in emergency departments. Several guidelines and tools exist to help the clinician determine need for hospitalization. For low-risk patients, clinical judgment can underestimate a patient’s risk of major adverse cardiac event. Implementation of an advanced diagnostic protocol with the HEART Pathway can reduce hospital cost. For our academic institution, we saw an approximate $1 million in total savings during the initial implementation year along with increased outpatient visits. In addition, an increase in outpatient visits confirmed previous estimates that implementation of the HEART Pathway results in >20% reduction of hospital costs. We also identify challenges and considerations for facilities looking to repeat our successes.

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