Heart Failure Diagnosis
Heart failure affects nearly one million people in the UK, but the road to diagnosis is too lengthy and too complicated for too many people. The vast majority are only diagnosed after a hospital admission – even though many would have seen their GP before. Accounting for 862,470 bed days in 2018/19, with admissions costing nearly £400m the current diagnostic pathway is leading to poorer outcomes, higher system costs, detrimental impact on patients quality of life and avoidable mortality.
It is this stark outlook which prompted global healthcare firm Roche Diagnostics and leading heart failure charity the Pumping Marvellous Foundation to commission this report, to better understand the experience of those living with heart failure, and identify the opportunities to remove the barriers to early diagnosis.
To assess the heart failure diagnostic pathway we developed a methodology that encompasses both qualitative and quantitative elements; a quantitative survey conducted by Censuswide in which 625 participants shared insights about their lived experience of a heart failure diagnosis, the effect it has had on them in addition to their experience of living with heart failure during COVID-19; semi-structured qualitative interviews with people living with heart failure; and quantitative Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data which recorded all hospital activity relating to seven heart failure ICD-10 codes captured as a primary diagnosis between April 2018 and March 2019.
Our results make clear that improving outcomes, patient experience and helping to deliver NHS sustainability are all rooted in diagnosing patients earlier – with the greatest opportunities to do so in primary care.