An Eastern AHSN-supported programme to diagnose and treat atrial fibrillation (AF) in Norfolk was recognised as best practice in this year’s AF Association Healthcare Pioneers Report 2020.
AF is the most common type of irregular heart rhythm, causing a quarter of all ischaemic strokes, yet many people are not aware that they have the condition. The AHSNs collectively identified that the spread and adoption of AF best practice across the AHSN Network could make a stepped improvement in care outcomes, leading to a reduction in AF-related strokes across England.
Eastern AHSN worked with The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Foundation Trust and West Norfolk CCG to establish the multidisciplinary team (MDT) service in the region. The service provides active screening and diagnosis of AF with mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) devices, discussing treatment options and offering anticoagulation and counselling to support patients and their families.
In the first six months, 49 patients were newly diagnosed with AF – 44 of which were started on anticoagulation therapy. Outpatient clinics held at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital allowed patients to discuss their risk of AF-related stroke and choices related to anticoagulation with skilled professionals.
This led to QEH achieving a referral to treatment (RTT) rate of 95.5% (previously 80%) through improved review of cardiology referrals from primary care.
The AF Association is a UK charity that focuses on raising awareness of AF by providing information and support materials for patients and medical professionals involved in detecting, diagnosing and managing AF. Each year, the AF Association Healthcare Pioneer awards recognise those who demonstrate excellent clinical practice and the development of AF services to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
The awards took place during the AF Association Global AF Aware Week Parliamentary Event, held within the Palace of Westminster.
The overarching national AHSN programme was independently recognised for its achievements since it was established in 2016. The programme has focused efforts across the entire AF pathway, and has distributed 6,000 digital AF detection devices across the NHS , and is working to address variation in anticoagulation prescribing by assisting CCGs to deliver a new model of care which utilises anticoagulation expertise to provide bespoke education and support to primary care prescribers.
You can read more about the AF Association Healthcare Pioneers Report 2020 here.