As American Heart Month begins, a new program launched by Partners HealthCare and AllWays Health Partners (formerly known as Neighborhood Health Plan) is taking aim at the nation’s leading cause of death through technology-enabled precision intervention of high-risk patients.
The iHeart Champion program, developed by Brigham Health’s Cardiovascular Medicine Innovation Group, helps patients at high risk for heart disease to reduce their blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart attack risk. Using customized algorithms to scan electronic medical records and identify high-risk patients, the program then engages digital tools and trained navigators to intervene between the patients and a team of pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and cardiologists assigned to their individual care.
The team’s approach is to remove the barriers to treatment compliance that can occur with drugs, such as statins, or lifestyle changes. Changes in doses, for example, can improve patients’ response while reducing side effects, and eliminate the need for inconvenient in-person visits for medication maintenance. This allows more patients to access medications with a proven track record of preventing heart attacks and strokes.
“The iHeart Champion program is an example of how innovation can fundamentally reshape health care delivery by catching a condition early in its development and giving patients the best odds at effectively managing their treatment,” said Calum MacRae, MD, Vice Chair for Innovation, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Imagine the possibilities for combating America’s leading cause of death, heart disease, by treating high-risk patients through regular, easily accessible contact with a dedicated health care team and eliminating the barriers to ensure precision intervention.”
The program has seen positive results for its pilot patients, with those participating reporting a 40 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol levels in as little as 12 weeks. Patients can be referred directly to the iHeart Champion program by their primary care physician. Other eligible patients include those diagnosed with ASCVD (atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease) or hypertension, with a most recent blood pressure reading of 130/80.
Read more about iHeart Champion here.