The 29th of September is World Heart Day, created by the World Heart Federation to raise awareness of cardiovascular (CVD) health and the impact that lifestyle can have on prevention and management.
CVD, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death, claiming 18.6 million lives worldwide each year. In the UK, 25% of all deaths are CVD related.
In January 2019, the NHS Long-Term Plan (LTP) detailed plans for a new service model fit for the 21st century, focusing on prevention. The ambition is to help prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks, strokes, and dementia cases over the next 10 years. Through early detection and appropriate treatment and care, patients can live longer and healthier lives.
Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSS AHSN) has delivered various CVD-related projects and programmes over the past decade, including a roll-out of a national Atrial Fibrillation detection project to prevent the incidence of strokes, and data dashboards updated monthly for Heart Failure (HF) and Lipids. The flagship Heart Failure programme has been rebranded to EQ+, the Enhancing Quality (EQ+) HF Programme, to reflect the dashboard re-design from MS Excel to Tableau online, and the EQ+ programme is now available for any hospital in England and Wales to join.
When patients suffer an exacerbation of heart failure, they rely on clinicians to help get their symptoms under control. Unity Insights partner, KSS AHSN, works to help inform and support clinicians with best practice guidance and data dashboards, to help reduce variation in care and improve outcomes for patients.
In the South-East, almost 88,000 patients have GP recorded ‘all cause’ Heart Failure. Of those diagnosed with LVSD, between 80-82% are treated with medication, with just 35% having had a review in the previous 12 months, including a medicines optimisation review. During 2021/22 there were over 15,600 unplanned admissions to hospitals with a primary diagnosis of Heart Failure costing £70m, with over 1,800 same cause readmissions indicating that management is not straightforward.
Unity Insights, in collaboration with KSS AHSN, have developed an interactive Tableau dashboard showing Heart Failure treatment and outcome measures across South East England. The dashboard implements a Quality Improvement (QI) methodology and uses National Heart Failure Audit (NHFA) data supplied by trusts for their hospital sites, which is updated monthly. There are seven clinician designed measures that form a ‘bundle’ – if a patient receives all of the care they are eligible for, it is proven to produce better patient outcomes. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data is included in the outcomes section and is updated quarterly. There is also alignment to track Best Practice Tariff (BPT) achievement, bespoke to each hospital trust.
As of September 2022, there are 22 hospital sites that provide Heart Failure services across the South East and are signed up to EQ+, with four more currently in the onboarding process. KSS AHSN’s EQ+ takes the data already being submitting to the NHFA and delivers monthly reports, presented in a way that will help drive improvements to Enhancing Quality (EQ) in care.
Our organisations recognise that collecting, presenting, and joining up data is just the start. A culture of regularly accessing and using data, for more than performance management, is vital to driving improvements in care.
To help build this culture, EQ+ offers widespread understanding of data analysis, as well as expert clinical project advisors to work closely with clinicians and system leaders, to communicate and visualise data in a way that is useful to those delivering heart failure care, designing, and commissioning services.
“The EQ+ dashboard is easy to use and provides timely data on quality heart failure metrics. We have used it to demonstrate the previous inequity of care across our two hospital sites. A successful business case submission using EQ+ data resulted in an additional Heart Failure Consultant and Nurse Specialist to be appointed.”University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust