NJ group to use BG Medicine diagnostic tool to identify patients at risk for heart-failure relapses

A New Jersey health improvement collaborative will use a diagnostic tool developed by BG Medicine Inc. of Waltham to identify patients at risk of being re-hospitalized for heart failure.

The collaborative is Trenton Health Team, or THT.

Identifying patients at risk has taken on additional urgency following the recent adoption of federal rules that impose stiff financial penalties on hospitals with high re-admission rates.

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One THT goal is to lower unplanned hospital readmissions by 15 percent in 2013, THT and BG Medicine said in a press release. THT believes that BG Medicine’s Galectin-3 diagnostic blood test can help the collaborative to reach that goal.

Because higher levels of galectin-3 are associated with a more aggressive form of heart failure, testing for galectin-3 levels should help medical professionals to better identify patients at risk of relapses that require re-hospitalization.

“Measuring Galectin-3 levels is a simple way to identify patients who are at higher risk of poor outcomes resulting from cardiovascular disease leading to unplanned readmission,” Eric Bouvier, president and chief executive of BG Medicine, said in a statement. “The Trenton Healthcare Team is leading the charge by adopting a broad scope of efforts to reduce costly hospital readmissions.”

Trenton Health Team is an alliance of the city’s major providers of health care services including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center, and the city’s Health Department. In collaboration with residents and the city’s social services network, THT is developing an integrated healthcare delivery system to transform the city’s fragmented primary care system.