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GP-developed AF tool endorsed by NICE is rolled out to GP practices

A new NICE-endorsed tool designed by GPs to improve the care of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) is being rolled out to GP practices.

Developed by healthcare software supplier EMIS Health, the ‘atrial fibrillation advisor’ tool is being introduced to 4,166 GP practices throughout the UK that use the EMIS web clinical system.

It uses data from patients’ medical records in real time to spot potential dosage errors, risks of bleeding or strokes, or patients that should be prescribed anticoagulants.

GPs can access personalised support for all stages of the heart condition, with information based on the patient’s details, such as height, weight, age, medical history, existing medication and serum creatinine levels. 

The tool alerts the GP, nurse, or pharmacist about any potential issues, and prompts them to open the anticoagulation care pathway, which provides screens of more detailed treatment summaries, based on NICE guidance.

GPs can also use the system to analyse population levels to identify patients who are not on treatment, or whose treatment is suboptimal. 

Project lead Dr Nic Boeckx, a GP in Bromsgrove, said: ‘The atrial fibrillation advisor 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.’

He added: ‘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.’

Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, chief medical officer at EMIS Group, said: ‘We are delighted this tool will be at the fingertips of every EMIS Web user and hope it will become an everyday part of GPs’ management of patients with AF. We’re also grateful to NICE for endorsing it and hope this further encourages its adoption across EMIS Health practices.’

NHS Digital data last month showed a rise in the number of adults in England with hypertension, particularly in men aged over 75.

Last autumn, a collaboration between Fitbit and health app FibriCheck was announced, so Fitbit users can measure their heart rhythm to detect irregularities via smartwatch. Meanwhile, a year-long pilot of an AF scheme in Lambeth and Southwark CCG reported a 25% reduction in rates of AF-related stroke.


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