Case study from Heart failure policy and practice in Europe

Comprehensive heart failure networks to support integrated care

17 November, 2020

In 2016, the German Cardiac Society launched the HF-NET programme to link hospital and outpatient heart failure services through a system of accreditation.1 To join the programme, healthcare providers must apply to the Society for accreditation as:

  • a heart failure practice (typically an outpatient heart failure service led by cardiologists)
  • a heart failure hospital (typically a local or district hospital with a multidisciplinary heart failure team)
  • a heart failure supra-regional centre (typically an academic hospital equipped to care for complex or advanced heart failure).2

Accredited centres in the same region are connected within an HF network (HF-NET) through the implementation of care pathways and standard operating procedures.2 Accreditation is renewed every three to five years.

As of October 2020, the HF-NET programme has accredited 51 heart failure practices, 42 heart failure hospitals and 34 heart failure supra-regional centres.3 Notable challenges for the programme have included the recruitment of sufficient heart failure practices to expand the coverage of HF-NETs, and the implementation of standardised protocols and IT systems to support multidisciplinary and integrated ongoing care.4


  1. Ertl G, Angermann CE, Bekeredjian R, et al. 2016. Aufbau und Organisation von Herzinsuffizienz-Netzwerken (HF‑NETs) und Herzinsuffizienz-Einheiten („Heart Failure Units“, HFUs) zur Optimierung der Behandlung der akuten und chronischen Herzinsuffizienz. Der Kardiologe 10(4): 222-35
  2. Seferović PM, Piepoli MF, Lopatin Y, et al. 2020. Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology Quality of Care Centres Programme: design and accreditation document. European Journal of Heart Failure 22(5): 763-74
  3. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kardiologie. 2020. Zertifizierung als Heart Failure Unit (HFU). [Updated 18/06/20]. Available from: [Accessed 19/06/20]
  4. Störk S. 2020. Interview with Marissa Mes and Sara C Marques at The Health Policy Partnership (Secretariat for Heart Failure Policy Network) [videoconference]. 21/08/20
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The Heart Failure Policy Network is an independent, multidisciplinary platform made possible with financial support from AstraZeneca and Roche Diagnostics. The content produced by the Network is not biased toward any specific treatment or therapy. All outputs are guided and endorsed by the Network’s members. All members provide their time for free. The Network is hosted by The Health Policy Partnership .