UK doctors lagging behind Europe in use of online cardiology training tool

15 May 2013

 Young UK doctors are lagging behind their European counterparts in their uptake of eduCAD, an online tool for learning the appropriate use of multi modal imaging technology in cardiology, according to co-developer, GE Healthcare.

eduCAD is the result of a collaboration between GE Healthcare, the Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council in Pisa, and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), it has been designed in light of the increasingly important role that cardiac imaging is playing as an accurate diagnostics tool for cardiac disease.

Between September 2012 and February 2013, Italy, Germany and Poland featured far more frequently than the UK in results showing the top 10 countries with the most users accessing the tool each month*. Italy featured in the top 10 list six months in a row, Germany for four months and Poland for three months. In comparison, the UK featured just once. The results also showed users from countries as far a field as China, India and Argentina, training with the tool.

Nicola Maidwell, Director of Cardiovascular Marketing at GE Healthcare said: “NICE’s recent clinical guideline on chest pain (CG95) cites an estimated 2.6 million people in the UK with coronary artery disease (CAD), leading to over 90,000 deaths in the UK. It is also estimated that one per cent of the general population in the UK consults their General Practitioner with chest pain. However, diagnosing CAD accurately can be complex and that’s why GE Healthcare is committed to supporting the training of young physicians in the appropriate use of non-invasive cardiovascular imaging which can play an important role. We urge young UK physicians and doctors to make use of this free tool as their counterparts in Europe are currently doing.”

eduCAD is available from the ESC website and is dedicated to young physicians and doctors. It offers several clinical cases selected from the EVINCI (Evaluation of Integrated Cardiac Imaging) study. EVINCI is a European multi-centre, multi-modality cardiac imaging trial: providing objective evidence of the clinical role of different imaging modalities for early diagnosis, as well as complete characterisation and targeting of treatment in angina patients with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD).

eduCAD invites users to select different validated clinical cases, and build an optimal imaging diagnostic pathway on the basis of clinical evidence and appropriateness criteria for the use of non-invasive and invasive tests. The final conclusion and diagnostic imaging pathway is compared to the opinion of expert specialists. A forum section also allows users to give feedback and contribute clinical cases to the eduCAD team.

Dr Miriam Brinkert, a subspecialist trainee in advanced cardiac imaging at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust Hospital recently used eduCAD and said: “eduCAD is a useful and engaging way to learn about cardiac imaging. The tool provides a number of real coronary cases for clinicians to work through, with high quality images drawn from multiple imaging modalities. With this information, which includes both anatomical and functional data, users can practice building an optimal imaging diagnostic pathway to determine whether or not to use invasive or non-invasive procedures to diagnose cardiac disease – an essential skill needed both for clinical exams and daily clinical practice.

The tool is interesting and informative to use, particularly given the inclusion of a wide range of images from multiple modalities. The design of this tool appears superior to many existing online training tools for medics, which are often composed of multiple choice questions only. eduCAD presents you with the information you would face in real life scenarios and allows you to work through the clinical case and then compare your choices with those of experts at the end. There is also an online forum to discuss your findings with other users, which is extremely useful.”

Dr Neglia, Head of the Cardiac PET-CT Unit and Director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Program at Fondazione Toscana Gabriele Monasterio and the Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council in Pisa, Italy depicts how: “eduCAD intends to help cardiologists and referring physicians to choose the appropriate diagnostic strategy for each specific patient with suspected coronary artery disease. This aims to reduce the use of unnecessary tests, save money and provide better care.”

The trend of increasing cardiovascular mortality in Europe has been reversed over the last 20 years mainly due to effective treatment of acute coronary syndromes and prevention of coronary artery diseases through tackling risk factors. However, the decrease in mortality has been accompanied by an increased prevalence of chronic coronary artery disease and heart failure. The net result is that health systems are seeing more patients with suspected coronary artery disease, so effective diagnosis and treatment methods are increasingly important.


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