A UNC Division of Cardiology research team led by Anil Gehi, MD, the Sewell Family-McAllister Distinguished Professor of Medicine, has been awarded a three-year, $1.1 million dollar grant from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation to improving atrial fibrillation (AF) care in the community. Building on prior work, Gehi and the team will collaborate with Duke Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health to improve AF care, targeting underserved areas of Central North Carolina, while building partnerships with primary care providers in the community. Providers will be educated on best practice management strategies for comprehensive AF care using a Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) model for support, guidance, and feedback. In addition, the project aims to engage patients in their own care through a paired virtual educational program. The impact on health outcomes will be assessed using PCORnet and STAR Clinical Research Network EHR (Electronic Health Record) data in collaboration with the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NCTraCS).
Prior grant funding has allowed Gehi and the team to develop and implement a novel AF care pathway in the Emergency Department and establish a network of AF Transitions of care clinics across UNC Health. The AF Transitions of Care clinics continue to offer expedited access to specialty AF care. This work has led to a substantial and sustained reduction in unnecessary AF hospitalizations and repeat ED visits while improving quality of care.
Gehi and the research team recently received a UNC Medical Center Quality and Safety Award.