Decision support app IDs heart failure patients at risk of disease progression

Researchers from Intermountain Healthcare have developed a clinical decision support application capable of identifying when heart failure advances and is capable of notifying physicians. Findings were published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure.

Often, heart failure patients don’t contact their cardiovascular specialist until symptoms have progressed. Developed by a team of Intermountain Healthcare medical information specialists and clinicians, the app monitors patients' medical tests and notifies clinicians when their status changes.

"Heart failure is progressive, and when it becomes advanced, standard therapies are no longer adequate and quality of life plummets. The sooner advanced heart failure is diagnosed, and patients begin to receive advanced, specialized treatment, the better they tend to do," said study lead author R. Scott Evans, MS, PhD, medical informatics director at Intermountain Healthcare. “But patients typically aren't monitored every day, and it's hard for doctors to stay up to date on all the research regarding heart failure. Plus, no single test says the disease has progressed and often patients don't end up in advanced heart failure clinics when they should."

The app works by monitoring heart failure patients' records for signs of progression, like visits to the hospital or lab tests, and applies an algorithm to identify when each patient could experience a progression in heart failure. The app then emails specialists with recommended therapy and what caused the alert.

Results showed the app was able significantly improve the detection of disease progression and patient survival rate at 30, 60, 90 and 180 days.