Quality and Variability of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Delivery: APPLYING THE CANADIAN QUALITY INDICATORS

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Cardiac care, including cardiovascular rehabilitation (CR), is most effective if it is high-quality. The aim of this study was to describe CR quality, using the recently developed Canadian Cardiovascular Society CR quality indicators (QIs). Difference in quality between CR sites was also assessed.


Secondary analysis was conducted on an observational, prospective, multisite CR program evaluation cohort. A convenience sample of patients from 1 of 3 CR programs was approached at their first CR visit, and consenting participants completed a survey. Clinical data were extracted from charts pre- and postprogram. Of the 30 CR QIs, 21 (70.0%) were assessable: 10 process, 9 outcome, and 2 structure QIs.


Of 411 consenting patients, 209 (53.0%) completed CR. The greatest quality was observed for assessment of blood pressure (98.1%), communication with primary health care at CR discharge (94.2%), and patient enrollment (94.0%). The lowest quality was observed for wait time from hospital discharge (9.2%), assessments of blood glucose (42.1%), and lipid control (53.0%). Of the 7 QIs that had an established benchmark, quality for 2 (28.6%) was above the benchmark (particularly assessment of blood pressure). Significant between-site differences were observed in 11 (64.7%) QIs. The magnitude of quality differences between sites was largest for assessment of lipid control (72.6%), assessment of blood glucose control (69.0%), and wait time in median days from referral to enrollment (30.6 days).


There is wide variability in CR program quality, both overall and between CR sites. Quality improvement in particular aspects of CR care is required.

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