Design of a bilevel clinical trial targeting adherence in heart failure patients and their providers: The Congestive Heart Failure Adherence Redesign Trial (CHART)

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Abstract

Background

Socioeconomically disadvantaged patients are at an increased risk for adverse heart failure (HF) outcomes based upon nonadherence to medications and diet. Physicians are also suboptimally adherent to prescribing evidence-based therapy for HF.

Methods

Congestive Heart Failure Adherence Redesign Trial (CHART) (NCT01698242) is a multicenter, bilevel, cluster randomized behavioral efficacy trial designed to assess the impact of intervening simultaneously on physicians and their socioeconomically disadvantaged patients (annual income <$30,000) having HF with reduced ejection fraction. Treatment arm physicians received individualized feedback on their adherence to prescribing evidence-based therapy. Their patients received weekly home visits from community health workers aimed at promoting understanding of HF and integrating adherence into daily life. Control arm physicians received regular updates on advances in HF management, and patients received monthly HF educational tip sheets produced by the American Heart Association. The primary outcome was all-cause hospital days over 30 months.

Results

A total of 72 physicians (treatment, 35; control, 37) and their 320 patients (treatment, 157; control, 163) were recruited within 2 years. Randomization of physicians with all of their patients being assigned to the same arm was feasible and did not compromise the comparability of patients by arm. Using 5 recruiting hospitals located within disadvantaged neighborhoods produced a cohort that was primarily African American and representative of low-income urban patients with HF with reduced ejection fraction.

Conclusion

CHART will determine the value of intervening on low adherence simultaneously in physicians and their socioeconomically disadvantaged patients in reducing all-cause hospitalization days.

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