Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has announced the trial of a new remote care tool called FibriCheck, which allows stroke patients to test themselves for a common heart condition, from the comfort of their own homes.
CW Innovation – led by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS FT and its charity CW+ – has previously co-designed and scaled a number of other remote models of care for a range of patients, including those with diabetes, HIV, skin conditions and COVID-19.
The latest tool, FibriCheck, will enable users to test themselves for atrial fibrillation (AF), which causes an irregular heart rhythm and can lead to an increased risk of developing strokes.
According to CW+, AF is responsible for ‘a quarter of all strokes’ but the organisation notes that the ‘vast majority of these are preventable if caught in time’. However, the condition can be intermittent and people with AF can be asymptomatic, making it difficult to detect.
To help tackle this, CW+ says that the FibriCheck app allows patients to check their heart rate and rhythm to test for AF by placing their finger over the camera lens of their smartphone for one minute, which will measure pulse pressure signals. When and if AF is detected, patients will then be called in for formal diagnosis and treatment.
The trial is part of the trust’s ‘growing remote monitoring portfolio’, which aims to assist clinicians with providing care for patients at home, work, or wherever they want, without having to go into hospital. This latest project has been introduced at pace, as part of the CW Innovation programme, which launched two years ago with the goals of identifying, testing and evaluating new solutions that improve patient care and experience.
A staff funding call for new digital innovation ideas, called RADICAL, was introduced this year, and FibriCheck was declared the winning project. With support from the Rosetrees Trust and Kusuma Trust, funding has been awarded to trial the project, which will assess how well FibriCheck detects AF, as well as the patient experience and satisfaction with the app.
Dr Sadia Khan, Consultant Cardiologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been working on remote monitoring solutions and how we provide health care differently for some years; however, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen us accelerate at pace, using technology to not only improve the care we provide but to really improve the experience of that care for patients and staff.
“We are delighted to be able to trial FibriCheck at the trust, to monitor stroke patients remotely without the need to come into our hospitals. FibriCheck is quick, reliable and easy to use, and the diagnostics will provide vital information so we can detect AF earlier in people who have had a recent stroke and undertake the next steps in clinical care to reduce the risk of further strokes. I’m confident the app will be a game changer in the way we manage patient care in the stroke service”.