Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cost and Readmission Rates of Heart Failure patients at Piedmont Athens Regional

What question were you seeking to answer?

COVID-19 has interrupted the normal care of heart failure patients here in Athens, so we asked, “What effect has the COVID-19 pandemic had on HF patient cost and readmission rates at Piedmont Athens Regional (PAR)?”

Why did you choose this topic?

I came into medical school with an interest in cardiology, and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic presented a new problem that needed to be studied – the effect of the pandemic on specific cohorts in medicine. Choosing to study the effect of the pandemic on heart failure patients seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine these two areas of interest in my life, and my research helped me learn more about what it’s like to be a patient living with heart failure.

How did you study this question? 

Dr. Murrow, a local cardiologist and my research mentor, helped me get set up with the Piedmont system, and I dove into the PAR electronic medical records to document the hospital length of stay and readmission rates of heart failure patients during the pandemic. I then compared these values to the previous year’s hospital length of stay and readmission rates and noted any differences.

What did you learn through your research?

I learned a great deal about providing good care to a patient living with heart failure and the processes that go into performing quality research. I expect to use my new understanding of heart failure to better treat patients as a future physician, and I want to use my improved research skills to contribute to the medical literature so that patients can be better treated in the future.

Who stands to benefit from this research? 

Clinicians who treat patients with heart failure may benefit from this research, as its intent was to add to the existing literature on pandemic response, which would help establish recommendations for heart failure care during a pandemic. My hope is that this research will help lay the groundwork for future studies that focus on the care received by heart failure patients at PAR.

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