Around 10,000 people living across the North East will be trialling the PocDoc Lipid Test, which can indicate whether someone has high cholesterol with an at-home finger prick blood test, a lateral flow device and an accompanying app.
The test is being piloted in the area to see if it can help ease the pressure on GP surgeries who usually carry out the testing, and ensure more people have access to testing. As the testing process delivers instant results it can also speed up diagnosis, helping to prevent more people from developing cardiovascular disease and improving patient outcomes.
The North East pilot will be focusing on increasing access to cholesterol testing outside of the GP surgery. This includes providing access at home, on the high street, in the workplace and in other community settings.
The pilot commenced in May working with participating practices in Newcastle and a business in the Cleveland area. The pilot is particularly focused on high-risk patients in deprived communities and those who may be less engaged with GP services.
Professor Julia Newton, medical director at the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), who helped secure the funding and to set up the regional pilot, said: “The PocDoc test has the potential to transform the way we deliver CVD risk assessments and diagnose patients, making it more accessible to people who have previously struggled to engage with the process.”
She continued: “Through easier, more cost-effective access to cholesterol testing, we have the chance to reduce the number of people developing CVD, lessen pressure on GPs, keep people out of hospital and increase healthy life expectancy.”
The PocDoc test involves a simple five-step process. First, the PocDoc app needs to be downloaded, and then a health questionnaire filled out. Next, patients must do a finger prick test and drop the sample onto the lateral flow test, which takes seven minutes to develop. Finally, patients take a photo of the test using their phone and the PocDoc app.
Results are received immediately via the app and patients also receive a personalised health assessment.
Steve Roest, CEO and co-founder of PocDoc, said: “The whole PocDoc team is excited to launch our partnership with AHSN NENC that will deliver a step-change increase in access to vital testing for cholesterol.
“The PocDoc app, quantitative lateral flow tests and digital platform can keep people out of hospital and reduce pressure on GPs, while increasing the number of people who receive vital treatment for the nation’s biggest killer – and one of the NHS’ biggest costs – cardiovascular disease.”
The pilot is funded by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) for Healthcare, the System Transformation Fund (STF) and Innovation for Healthcare Inequalities Programme (InHIP).
September last year saw PocDoc team up with Certific, to launch of a range of remote monitoring pilot schemes for cardiovascular disease, which are run in conjunction with the NHS.