When patients first hear they have Heart Failure, they are understandably frightened. Terrified even.

The name itself sounds scary. Patients assume their heart is failing, and they are dying. Now.

Then they start trolling the internet, and alarm themselves even more. There they are confronted with an awful truth: The typical patient with Heart Failure dies within five years of receiving a diagnosis.

Heart Failure can be scary for healthcare providers, too. Heart Failure takes time to manage effectively. Heart Failure patients are emotionally vulnerable. Oftentimes, they are non-compliant. Because of these and other complexities, almost one in five patients with Heart Failure discharged from the hospital is readmitted within a month.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. My patients aren’t statistics. Many of them live ten, 15 or even 20 years with Heart Failure—and they feel better because they feel in control. They have hope.

Here’s what one of our patients, diagnosed with Heart Failure as a result of her breast cancer treatment, recently told her peers during CareConnext:

As a cancer patient, you have no choice, really. You get on the cancer train, and you ride it. You have the surgery. You do the chemo. Endure the radiation, and take the estrogen-suppressing drugs. You do a lot of praying, because you are not in control, your doctors are.

She feels lucky to be alive, to have survived cancer, and to be participating in CareConnext.

This is different. This is a condition where I myself have control over how I feel. I can start new habits that make a big difference in my energy level, my ability to breathe easily and even how long I will live. I am surrounded by others who offer support.

After more than two years of transitioning our work from a randomized clinical trial into clinical practice at the University of Kansas Hospital, my organization and I are ready to take the next step with CareConnext: helping others care for their Heart Failure patients holistically– in a way that makes sense for patients and providers.

Patients will feel better, emotionally and physically. Healthcare providers will enjoy spending time with their patients without the pressure to move on quickly.

CareConnext is a new, unique model of care designed for organizations hoping to achieve outstanding patient outcomes, and generate new sources of revenue using evidence based practice.

Working together, we can change patients’ lives.