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Improving access and equity in reducing cardiovascular risk: the Queensland Health model

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Almost one-third of all deaths in the Australian population in 2011 were attributable to cardiovascular disease (CVD),1 and around 80% of these were preventable.2 People who attend cardiac rehabilitation programs have reduced mortality rates and improved health knowledge, health behaviours and quality of life compared with patients who do not attend rehabilitation.3,4 Attendance rates are around 30% or less and have not improved in the past 20 years57 despite major attempts by advisory bodies to increase uptake.8,9 As a result, alternative methods of delivering cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention have been sought.10 These include home-based cardiac rehabilitation, case management and, more recently, telephone coaching programs that are flexible, multifaceted and integrated with the patient’s primary health care provider.1113 Achieving optimal and sustainable delivery of these interventions to rural and remote communities presents a huge challenge.

Australia’s rural population is…