NICE endorses patient record tool to improve AF treatment

18 Dec 2019

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has endorsed a tool developed by a West Midlands GP to improve treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF), a heart condition that affects 1.2m people in the UK.

The tool, being rolled out to 4,166 GP practices using the EMIS Web clinical system, is the first NICE-endorsed AF decision support tool in the UK to work directly from within a patient’s medical record.

Nicola Bent, director of the System Engagement Programme at NICE, said: “We’re pleased to endorse this resource which supports clinicians in primary care to make treatment decisions about patients with atrial fibrillation. This makes it easier for clinicians to implement NICE guidance and ensure these patients receive improved, personalised treatment to meet their individual needs.”

From the consultation screen, GPs can view the decision support to help assess, monitor and treat the condition, which is the most common heart rhythm disturbance.

The new tool, developed by EMIS Health, considers variables such as height, weight, age, serum creatinine, medical history and existing medication to help accurately calculate and monitor the correct doses of anticoagulant drugs to treat AF.

The project was led by Dr Boeckx, a GP at the Davenal House surgery in Bromsgrove, who is one of a number of clinicians working at EMIS Health.

He said: “What the AF tool gives hard-pressed GPs is relevant information instantly from within the patient’s record. It makes it much easier, safer and quicker to get patients on the right dose of medication. And by better understanding individual patients’ risks, I hope we can help cut the all-too-high number of those suffering stroke and other complications such as heart attack, limb amputation and dementia.

“While tools exist outside clinical IT systems to treat AF, their uptake has been low because they are too time consuming to be of practical use in the time-pressured GP setting. Integrating decision support within EMIS Web will I believe make relevant guidance instantly accessible and far more impactful.”

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