Heart experts have launched a pair of smartphone and tablet applications designed to treat atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common cardiac rhythm disorder.
One app, called AF Manager, is for healthcare professionals. The other, My AF, is for patients.
When used together, the creators said, the apps could boost patient education and self-management and aid physicians in providing guideline-recommended treatment. Both apps were developed over the last two years in conjunction with the writing of the 2016 European Society of Cardiology guidelines on AFib.
The design and objectives of the apps were outlined Oct. 10 in EP Europace. They are freely available for Android and iOS devices through the Google Play, Amazon and Apple stores.
“We know that effective management of atrial fibrillation is suited to shared decision making and we have created the apps in the hope of facilitating this process,” lead author Dipak Kotecha, a clinician scientist in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, said in a press release. “Sharing information should save clinicians time and enable them to devote consultations to choosing the best treatments.”
In their paper, Kotecha and colleagues noted previous healthcare apps have boosted adherence to treatments and reduced symptoms of other ailments. With approximately two-thirds of people in the U.S. and Europe owning a mobile device, the platform represents an opportunity to reach a wide swath of patients and providers, they wrote.
My AF provides patients with information about AFib, its accompanying risk of stroke, treatment options and tips on improving lifestyle. Users can record symptoms in a diary that can be shared with a health professional before consultation to maximize face-to-face time.
“The app aims to encourage active patient involvement in the management of their condition,” Kotecha said. “There is evidence that patient education can improve self-care, adherence to therapy, and long-term outcomes.”
AF Manager imports information shared by patients and allows healthcare professionals to modify the details and enter other information such as electrocardiogram or echocardiography data. An in-app tool then offers individualized treatment options based on the new ESC guidelines.
Notes, treatment decisions and medication dosages can be relayed back to the patient via the apps.
“The dynamic nature of this technology will allow us to modify and update the features and content to reflect feedback from users, as well as future versions of the ESC atrial fibrillation guidelines,” Kotecha said.