As heart health takes centre stage with Valentine’s Day, we are increasingly aware not everything is rosy with cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention assessment in Australia.
A Prevention Centre project on enhancing prevention in primary health care has been assessing CVD prevention in General Practice is undertaking new research with Tasmanian general practitioners (GPs). Lead Investigator Dr Carissa Bonner said the project is looking to identify factors that influence the extent to which GPs use ‘absolute risk’ assessment for CVD. This assessment offers an integrated approach to estimate the cumulative risk of multiple risk factors to predict a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.
Our project has seen a new collaboration between the University of Sydney’s CHAT-GP and the University of Tasmania’s IDEAL study. The CHAT-GP project aims to improve communication of heart disease risk assessment using translational strategies in General Practice and the IDEAL study is improving the way doctors identify and manage patients at risk of CVD.
“This collaboration will help better understand the drivers and challenges of implementing CVD prevention guidelines in General Practice,” Carissa said.
“The CHAT-GP project has identified GP barriers to the use of CVD risk assessment guidelines in 2012 and we are working with the IDEAL study data to conduct a ten-year update.
“We have found that many of the assessment, management and communication barriers identified a decade ago still persist today. These must be addressed in the implementation of the revised 2022 guidelines if we are to improve CVD prevention outcomes for Australia,” she said.
The findings of the project will be used to identify support needs for GPs and inform implementation of revised CVD prevention guidelines with a focus on:
- Uptake patterns for Heart Health Check MBS items
- Current challenges with risk assessment and management
- Key drivers of opportunistic CVD risk assessment
- Health literacy and communication issues.
The project has involved more than 18 GPs in Tasmania and is due to be completed by June 2022.