DigitalHealth.London Accelerator SME FibriCheck has been recognised in the latest primary care cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidance as an effective solution for remote Atrial Fibrillation (AF) detection and management.
The guidance comes in response to the surge in adoption of digital health technology solutions by provider organisations looking to address non-COVID related care needs. While uptake of cardiac solutions has been slower, owing to the prevalence of hardware dependent devices and limits to in-centre visits, FibriCheck is making considerable strides to improve access to care using smartphone cameras. Since March over 90,000 Brits have used FibriCheck to simply check their heart rhythm at home.
The guidance released by the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT), and the Oxford Academic Health Science Network offers informative direction to primary care teams for the care and management of their CVD populations. The guidance lists FibriCheck as a certified tool that can be used in usual care pathways. Patients receive a code via email, virtually activating FibriCheck. The app supports patients to self-manage by annotating their symptoms and activities for a defined monitoring period. Upon expiry of the code, the results are automatically summarised and shared with their provider, enabling evidence-informed decision making prior to teleconsultation.
FibriCheck’s approach is employed in TeleCheck-AF, a physician-driven response to the pandemic, developed by clinicians for clinicians to remotely detect and monitor at-risk patient populations. Amidst increasing cancelations and growing wait lists, TeleCheck-AF’s clinical partners developed and validated a standardised protocol and virtual operating procedure, enabling same-day onboarding of 40 centres, including Barts Health NHS Trust and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, during the first two months of the pandemic. By eliminating device turnover logistics, participating centres were able to safely address backlogs and provide care continuity to vulnerable patients. Replacing 95% of face-to-face consultations, the initiative garnered recognition from the European Cardiology Society, making the use of FibriCheck standard practice in a growing number of centres.
Inclusion in sectoral guidance is a considerable advancement for digital health applications said FibriCheck Co-founder and 2020 NIA fellow Bieke Van Gorp: “We’re thrilled to see UK policymakers embrace digital solutions, not only as a way of shepherding us through these challenging times, but also as a way of making healthcare more efficient, less costly, and more effective at empowering patients to play a central role in managing their condition.”
While COVID-19 continues to challenge the NHS, many in the sector continue to persevere and embrace the transformative potential of digital delivery, despite mounting pressures. One such example is Wanstead and Woodford PCN in Redbridge. With flu season approaching and second wave concerns growing, Dr. Shabana Ali, GP Principal at Southdene engaged FibriCheck to co-create a virtual screening approach to engage at-risk CVD patients in their population. Leveraging flu clinic outreach, the PCN is replacing traditional in-practice pulse checks with remote FibriCheck monitoring, safely delivering care to the hard to reach, and preventing strokes. AF is responsible for 25% of all strokes. The vast majority of which are preventable with timely detection and intervention. FibriCheck was chosen for its proven equivalence with single-lead ECG and for its performance, having proven that multiple spot checks effectively tripled AF detection rates, which is especially critical in the early stages when episodes are intermittent and timely intervention can be lifesaving.
Dr Shabana Ali, Clinical Director at Redbridge CCG, GPwSI Cardiology, GP Principal Southdene, NHS England Appraiser and King’s Fund Alumna said, “We were introduced to this unique innovation at a time when we were restructuring our plans to help prevent and reduce strokes across North East London. Very quickly it became an innovative tool to reach out to patients in the current pandemic. As a GP it empowered me in my skills and became a ‘contact less way’ of getting important information on heart activity that is so much needed to undertake important clinical decisions. FibriCheck is quick, reliable and user friendly. Patients find it so easy to use and feel very involved in their health care. I was able to either reassure or undertake further steps in clinical care without any delay. This technology has been a breath of fresh air especially in the current pandemic where access to diagnostics has been a challenge. No doubt, its successful implementation in primary care would allow us to provide efficient, effective and high standard care whilst fighting the constricted uncertainties that the Pandemic brings.”
FibriCheck’s various implementations across the pathway are backed by extensive clinical evidence demonstrating the ease, speed and system savings with which it can be deployed,
“The seamless scalability and proven efficacy of FibriCheck’s technology enables organisations across the care continuum to be up and running in less than a day,” said FibriCheck Co-founder and CEO, Lars Grieten. “Ultimately our goal is to improve the quality of life and outcomes for patients with long-term conditions while bringing more value to health systems with plug-and-play flexibility that eliminates the need for costly deployment procedures, hardware procurement and organisational readiness resources.
“We are excited to be part of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme and believe it will help us towards this goal.”
The innovation is also set to start a post-stroke discharge project that looks to address Holter wait times and improve AF detection yield, in parallel to the usual care pathway at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. Learnings from the evaluation of these two projects will inform case studies for broader spread and adoption across the NHS.
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