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CVD software tool may ease GP screening burden

A new software tool could allow GPs to screen their patients automatically for cardiovascular risk, easing the burden of CVD screening.

The 'e-nudge', developed by a network of GP researchers, sends screen alerts on the opening of notes of high-risk patients and creates continually updated lists of those who merit detailed assessment.

The program, which plugs into EMIS, is currently on trial in 19 West Midlands practices and could form a first stage of planned screening for CVD.

Professor Tim Holt, director of the GP research network at Warwick West Midlands Primary Care Research, said the software examined the same data used in the QOF and updated itself each night: 'It could potentially be very beneficial to GPs.'

Professor Holt, a GP in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, said the National Screening Committee was 'very keen on risk assessment in primary prevention' and was working with the Joint British Societies, which recommend assessment for everyone over 40. 'The tool is designed to assist in case-finding for this.'

Dr Tom Marshall, senior lecturer at the department of public health and epidemiology, University of Birmingham, recently met members of the committee to discuss virtual methods of CVD screening.

Dr Marshall, who is on the NICE clinical guidelines group for lipid-lowering therapy, said: 'It is excellent to see more innovative use of IT to help GPs identify high-risk patients.'

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