Case study from Heart failure policy and practice in Europe

Promoting communication between GPs and cardiologists via virtual consultations

17 November, 2020

The Heart Failure Virtual Clinic has been an important pilot for advancing multidisciplinary care for heart failure in Ireland via remote consultation. The service was developed by HeartBeat Trust, St Vincent’s Healthcare Group and the Health Service Executive (HSE) to connect GPs with cardiologists.1 It provides GPs with rapid access to heart failure specialists remotely to help them manage heart failure in the community, aiming to minimise heart failure referrals and delays in seeking specialist involvement, as well as to reduce hospital admissions.2 3

A review of the pilot showed considerable benefits – a 95% decrease in heart failure hospital admissions and an 87% decrease in referral to outpatient departments among the patients involved.2 Other benefits included increased knowledge and confidence among GPs in managing heart failure and the avoidance of unnecessary travel for the person with heart failure.3 The pilot has been expanded to cover 150 GPs,1 and the model has been viewed by all stakeholders involved as a potential proof of concept for other disease areas, including diabetes, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.2


  1. eHealth Ireland. Heart Failure Virtual Clinic infographic. Available from: [Accessed 06/10/20]
  2. Health Service Executive. 2019. Terms of agreement between the Department of Health, the HSE and the IMO regarding GP contractual reform and service development. Available from: [Accessed 14/05/20]
  3. Gallagher J, James S, Keane C, et al. 2017. Heart Failure Virtual Consultation: bridging the gap of heart failure care in the community – A mixed-methods evaluation. ESC heart failure 4(3): 252-58
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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 .