UK Study: EMR mining for heart risk as effective as universal screening

Foes of big government rejoice--though this news does come from England's National Health Service.

Mining of primary care EMRs to find patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease is just as effective in preventing heart disease as an NHS plan to screen nearly all UK residents between the ages of 40 and 74, independent British researchers have concluded.

Writing in BMJ, the team from Cambridge University and nearby Addenbrooke's Hospital found that pulling routine data from patient EMRs and applying a basic CVD risk score to find and treat the 20 percent of patients at highest risk could reduce CVD incidence by half. Targeting the top 60 percent could prevent virtually all new cardiovascular "events."

Those numbers are in line with NHS estimates for a proposed universal screening program, but looking at EMR data instead of running tests for millions of adults would be significantly less expensive, the researchers conclude.

To learn more:
- take a look at this EHI Primary Care story
- see this BMJ study abstract