News : New Patient Helpline Provides Tools to Better Manage Understand HF
San Bernardino County, CA, USA, March 26, 2015 -- The National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention announced the launch of the Stronger Hearts Helpline that provides residents of San Bernardino County, Calif. with HF access to a 24/7 free call center with community resources to help better understand and manage their disease.
"The notion of ‘Stronger Hearts’ is to rejuvenate and redirect interest so people can approach HF with a more positive framework," Clyde W.Yancy, MD, MSc, from the division of cardiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told Healio.com. "The entire premise [of this helpline] was to not replicate anything that had been previously done. We are at a place where, surprisingly, we do not have the breadth of resources that patients need. Part of what we wanted to do was to try and come up with something that would make it easier to live with [an HF diagnosis] and easier to be successful with a diagnosis."
The bilingual helpline was launched in San Bernardino County, Calif., as part of the county’s existing 2-1-1 helpline, and is intended to serve as a pilot for what will eventually become a national program. The county has the second highest rate of HF treatment in California. Nearly 20% of Medicare beneficiaries in San Bernardino County are undergoing treatment for HF compared with the overall national and state rate of 14%, according to a press release.
"San Bernardino County was selected because it was a receptive community that was eager to be the pilot site to launch the 2-1-1 number," Yancy said. "It also has characteristics suggestive of a highly prevalent HF environment."
The helpline, funded by Novartis, offers residents of San Bernardino County referrals to physicians, clinics, exercise programs, nutrition advice and mental health programs; information about HF and treatment options; and transportation services to a health clinic and/or physician’s office, according to the press release.
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Moreover, the helpline offers patients leaving the hospital or physician’s office with tools to help follow the treatment plan their physician prescribed.
San Bernardino County residents can dial 2-1-1 or (888) 435-7565. A live operator then guides callers who ask for the Stronger Hearts Helpline to the available HF programs and resources.
According to Yancy, experts will also be able to track and monitor background data using the helpline.
"One of the background issues that we explored as we were putting together Stronger Hearts was a sophisticated community mapping system to identify the places in this country hardest hit by HF with the use of zip codes," he said. "This is another strategy that is on our plan that will make a big difference."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention:
The National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention is a catalyst to drive multi-sector action to prevent heart disease and stroke.
About Stronger Hearts Helpline:
With Stronger Hearts Helpline callers can get referrals to care and information about heart failure.
Published: Monday, March 30, 2015
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