Pharmacists are to use hand-held devices to test patients for atrial fibrillation (AF) as part of a hi-tech partnership in London.
North East London Pharmaceutical Committee is working with Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group, Barts Health Trust, and Sonar Informatics, under the Care City banner, to check irregular heartbeats among pharmacy visitors.
Pharmacists will be issued with the Kardia Mobile device, which can spot AF in just 30 seconds, and anyone with an abnormal result will get a rapid referral to an AF clinic at Whipps Cross University Hospital. The patient will then have minimally invasive diagnostic tests, meet with an AF nurse to discuss the result, and, if appropriate, receive treatment.
The whole process should take no more than three weeks, compared with a national average of 12 weeks to receive treatment for AF at present.
Care City, a health partnership designed to tackle ill health using innovation, has already screened almost 700 patients for AF in other settings, and found that roughly 7% were found to have the condition.
John Craig, Care City chief executive, said the new AF pathway demonstrated how it was bringing all parts of local health provision together and using technology to help patients manage their own health.
“The data we collect from this testing will indicate how many people use the service, leave with a diagnosis and start treatment,” he said.
“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.”