Case study from Heart failure policy and practice in Europe

Improving heart failure care in general practice

17 November, 2020

The OSCAR-HF study in Flanders aimed to optimise the quality of heart failure care in general practice by improving diagnosis, multidisciplinary collaboration and patient empowerment.1 It included:

  • education for GPs on heart failure diagnosis, including an online course and face-to-face meeting
  • an audit of electronic health records to identify possible cases of heart failure, with GPs asked to judge whether heart failure was the likely diagnosis
  • feedback to GPs on their performance in heart failure care
  • funding for natriuretic peptide (NP) testing
  • support from an heart failure nurse in the community.1 2

The evaluation of this approach is ongoing, but national experts report that access to NP testing was well heart failure by GPs.2 3 In addition, support from the heart failure nurse was valued by people living with heart failure, who were visited at home or invited for a consultation, and GPs, who could consult the heart failure nurse on diagnosis and medication management. National experts suggest that the nurse role could be fulfilled by primary care nurses in the future, with additional training in heart failure and support from GPs and/or hospital heart failure nurses.3 4


heart failure in general practice the OSCAR-HF pilot study protocol. Acta cardiologica 74(5): 371-79

  1. Smeets M, Vaes B, Aertgeerts B, et al. 2020. Impact of an extended audit on identifying heart failure patients in general practice: baseline results of the OSCAR-HF pilot study. ESC heart failure: 10.1002/ehf2.12990:
  2. Vercammen J. 2020. Interview with Marissa Mes at The Health Policy Partnership (Secretariat for Heart Failure Policy Network) [videoconference]. 09/09/20
  3. Smeets M. 2020. Interview with Marissa Mes at The Health Policy Partnership (Secretariat for Heart Failure Policy Network) [videoconference]. 16/09/20
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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 .