MedStar launches EHR-based heart risk prediction tool

Columbia, Md.-based MedStar Health on Feb. 26 launched an interactive tool within its EHR system that can automatically calculate a patient's risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

The tool analyzes the patient's data and displays their risk of heart attack or stroke in an easily digestible graphic format within the EHR. The heart risk calculator examines data including blood pressure, cholesterol and history of diabetes to generate a patient's 10-year cardiovascular event risk. Additionally, the tool also identifies how the patient's heart risk can improve by making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking.  

A total of 575 providers at 10 MedStar Health hospitals, ambulatory and urgent care centers now have access to the tool, which is funded by HHS as part of ONC's Leading Edge Acceleration Projects in Health IT cooperative agreement.

Giving patients the ability to see their risk on a virtual display is "more powerful" than the physician telling it to them, Ankit Shah, MD, said in a Feb. 26 news release emailed to Becker's Hospital Review. Dr. Shah serves as director of sports & performance cardiology at MedStar's Heart and Vascular Institute at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.

"We think this tool, embedded right in the medical record, means that more patients will be made aware of their cardiac status and how making simple changes can reduce their risk," he said. "We can now sit next to our patients, share a computer screen and see how a change in cholesterol or blood pressure affects their chances of having a heart attack or stroke."

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