More than 6,000 devices designed to prevent strokes are to be rolled out as part of a national campaign that could save the NHS £81 million a year.
The technologies are being distributed to GP practices, pharmacies and NHS community clinics across England during National Heart Month in February.
This includes Kardia Mobile, a small device that is able to detect irregular heart rhythms – or atrial fibrillation (AF) – in 30 seconds, by recording the electrical activity of the heart through a patient’s fingertips and sending the data to an app.
The app then allows heart rhythm recordings to be viewed, saved and shared with healthcare professionals allowing for faster detection and diagnosis of AF.
Another device is the Watch BP blood pressure cuff, which can also detect heart rhythms.
The devices are being rolled out by the 15 NHS and care innovation bodies known as Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), in the first six months of this year as part of an NHS England-funded project.
Figures show that more than 420,000 people across England have undiagnosed irregular heart rhythm, which can cause a stroke if not detected and treated appropriately. Treatment is usually performed through blood-thinning medication to prevent clots that lead to stroke.
The project aims to identify 130,000 new cases of AF over two years, which could prevent at least 3,650 strokes and potentially save 900 lives.
It is hoped the project will save the NHS £81 million annually.
Professor Gary Ford, stroke physician and lead on the project for the AHSN Network, said: “More than 420,000 people throughout England are unaware they have irregular heart rhythms and of the dangers that this can pose to their health.
“We have highly effective treatments that can prevent these strokes, but early detection is key.
“Using cost-effective technology, the NHS will now be able to identify people with irregular heart rhythms quickly and easily. This will save lives.”
This is far from the first NHS-backed project that supports innovation in health technology.
Back in November last year, Digital Health News reported that 11 new innovations were being promoted by NHS England, including a device designed to spot early signs of sepsis.