Care City healthcare hub launches pilot to reduce risk of strokes

Kardia Mobile device used to test irregular heartbeats

Kardia Mobile device used to test irregular heartbeats - Credit: Archant

Barking’s healthcare hub says it has found a cheap way to prevent up to 1,700 strokes each year.

Care City, a joint venture between Barking and Dagenham Council and North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), says its pilot scheme can find people with irregular heartbeats and cut appointments and waiting times.

They say half of people in London with irregular heartbeats, or atrial fibrillation (AF), don’t know they have the condition, and face a five times higher risk of stroke as a result.

The group, based in Linton Road, trialled early testing of AF using a handheld kit which can be connected to a mobile phone.

Those with abnormal results were sent to an AF clinic in Whipps Cross University Hospital, Walthamstow, where patients underwent tests to see if they needed further treatment.

Care City, who launched the AF Pathway pilot on Monday at the Health and Care Innovation Expo conference in Manchester, say the process takes two to three weeks, compared to a national average of 12 weeks.

Nearly 700 patients have been screened for AF as part of the group’s Innovation Test Bed project, a collaboration with the council, NELFT NHS Foundation Trust; Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS University Trust and others.

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Around seven percent of patients were found to have the heart condition.

Care City quoted “independent experts” from University College London as saying the scheme could prevent “an estimated 1,600-1,700 stokes” a year if replicated for patients over 65 across England.

Chief executive John Craig said: “The data we collect from this testing will indicate how many people use the service, leave with a diagnosis and start treatment.

“It will also help us understand whether the service is good value for the NHS and whether adopting this one-stop shop approach further across the UK is an effective and viable option.”

Emily Hough, director of strategy at NHS England, said: “This new enhanced AF pathway should lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment, ultimately offering improved outcomes for patients.”

“We look forward to continuing to support Care City and thinking about how we can scale this approach,” she added.