We are in the process of changing our name to Health Innovation North East North Cumbria (HI NENC), in the interim you will see references to both AHSN NENC and HI NENC

Thousands of North East patients to benefit from revolutionary cholesterol testing

A new at-home cholesterol test that will identify people at risk of heart attacks and strokes is being piloted in the North East of England.

Around 10,000 people across the North East will be some of the first in the country to be offered the PocDoc Lipid Test as part of a pilot of the innovative technology.

The test, which involves a finger prick blood test, a lateral flow device and an app, gives immediate results indicating whether the person has high cholesterol. It speeds up the diagnosis process meaning patients can receive treatment faster.

PocDoc allows for testing for high cholesterol to move out of GP surgeries, dramatically increasing access to testing which will in turn prevent more people from developing cardiovascular disease and reduce pressure for GP practices.

Each year over 6,700 people die from CVD across the North East and North Cumbria – the equivalent of 1 in 4 of all deaths. 2,000 of these people die under the age of 75 years[i].

There are an estimated 430,000 people living with cardiovascular disease in the region[ii], however there are likely to be many more who are undiagnosed.

The North East pilot will focus on increasing access to cholesterol testing outside of a traditional GP surgery environment, including at-home, on the high street, workplaces and in other community settings.

High risk patients in deprived communities and those who are less engaged with GP services across the region will also be a key priority during the pilot, which begun in May at participating Newcastle practices and with a business in the Cleveland area.

Those living in the most deprived areas of England are four times more likely to die early from CVD compared to those living in the least deprived areas[iii].

Research has shown that one of the challenges of engagement in long term management programmes for people in deprived communities is the need for testing of cholesterol frequently requiring multiple attendances at a healthcare setting.[iv] PocDoc will help to remove these barriers.

PocDoc was supported by the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) to help secure funding and set up the pilot in the region.

Professor Julia Newton, Medical Director at the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), said: “Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in the region and, in many cases, it can be prevented. The PocDoc test has the potential to transform the way we deliver CVD risk assessments and diagnose patients, making it more accessible to people who have previously struggled to engage with the process.

“The AHSN NENC is delighted to support PocDoc in setting up the pilot in the North East, where it will help improve some of the health inequalities faced by communities in our region. Through easier, more cost-effective access to cholesterol testing, we have the chance to reduce the number of people developing CVD, lessen pressure on GPs, keep people out of hospital and increase healthy life expectancy.”

Steve Roest, CEO and co-founder of PocDoc: “The whole PocDoc team is excited to launch our partnership with AHSN NENC that will deliver a step-change increase in access to vital testing for cholesterol. The PocDoc app, quantitative lateral flow tests and digital platform can keep people out of hospital and reduce pressure on GPs, while increasing the number of people who receive vital treatment for the nation’s biggest killer – and one of the NHS’ biggest costs – cardiovascular disease.”

Testing with PocDoc is a five-step process which involves: downloading the PocDoc app and filling out a health questionnaire; pricking your finger and dropping your sample onto the lateral flow test; allowing the test to develop for seven minutes; taking a photo of your test using your phone and the app; and then receiving results immediately via the app alongside a personalised health assessment.

The pilot programme is being funded by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) for Healthcare, the System Transformation Fund (STF) and Innovation for Healthcare Inequalities Programme (InHIP).

To find out more about the North East PocDoc pilot, visit: www.healthinnovationnenc.org.uk/at-home-cholesterol-testing

 

 

 

[i] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cardiovascular-disease-prevention-state-of-the-north-east-2019

[ii] https://www.bhf.org.uk/-/media/files/health-intelligence/10/north-east-england-bhf-statistics.pdf /

[iii] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-profile-for-england-2018/chapter-5-inequalities-in-health

[iv] https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/12/7/e058951