New study to improve care for Nova Scotians with a common heart condition

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 2:54pm

Capital Health announced an innovative patient-centered research study Sept. 9 aimed at enhancing care for people with atrial fibrillation.

The study is called Integrated Management Program Advancing Community Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (IMPACT-AF).It will transfer knowledge and expertise of specialized patient care from leading Nova Scotia researchers to front-line community care providers through an interactive web-based tool.The anticipated benefits are a reduction in heart health-related hospital visits and enhanced quality of life for patients with atrial fibrillation.

“This is the beginning of an innovative research study between Capital Health and Dalhousie University that will dramatically improve the health and wellness of individuals living with atrial fibrillation,” said Dr. Pat McGrath, Integrated Vice President, Research and Innovation, Capital Health and IWK Health Centre. “IMPACT-AF is made possible because of a research grant from Bayer Inc."

“In Nova Scotia, the burden of chronic disease is significant and increasing,” said Dr. Jafna Cox, Principal Investigator and Director of Research, Division of Cardiology, Capital Health. “We have a unique opportunity, by using health information technology to its fullest potential, to engage and empower patients throughout their care journey, while at the same time supporting primary care providers with an innovative health information system solution.”

“Although many different health information systems exist currently there is a general lack of clinical guideline-based decision support being offered to physicians at the point-of-care, and also the current systems do not proactively engage patients in their care process. The IMPACT-AF study will develop and deploy a state-of-the-art clinical decision support that will provide clinical guideline based decision support to physicians and it will also engage patients in the self-management of their AF condition through a range of mobile apps” said Dr. Raza Abidi, the project’s Technical Lead from Dalhousie University and a co-investigator. “We have been developing state-of-the-art health informatics technologies for decision support and patient management, and the IMPACT-AF project offers a unique opportunity to utilize our health informatics technologies to better meet the needs of both health professionals and patients. Our team has the technical expertise to make it happen.”

Besides Dr. Cox and Dr. Abidi, the research team includes co-investigators from Capital Health (Dr. Ratika Parkash), Dalhousie University (Dr. Samina Abidi), McMaster University in Ontario (Dr. Lehana Thabane and Dr. Feng Xie) and family practice (Dr. Jim MacKillop, Cape Breton). The study is expected to continue over the several years, with a multimillion-dollar budget.