News | Cardiac Diagnostics | November 10, 2021

Research Finds Challenges in Vascular Disease Symptom Recognition and Diagnostic Testing Impacts Patient Satisfaction

One in four physicians surveyed feel lack of technology makes an accurate diagnosis of coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease a key obstacle to an accurate diagnosis

An Abbott Vascular survey found one in four physicians surveyed feel lack of technology makes an accurate diagnosis of coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease a key obstacle to an accurate diagnosis.  Getty Images

Getty Images

November 10, 2021 — Abbott released new global market research from its Beyond Intervention initiative, the company’s multi-year global research program designed to examine the vascular patient experience from the perspectives of patients, physicians and healthcare leaders. The latest research focuses on challenges that arise for physicians and patients during the earliest stages of the patient journey, uncovering new opportunities for health systems and hospitals to leverage technology, break down existing barriers and improve patient care.

The findings from Beyond Intervention identify several key areas for improvement related to the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. These include reducing inconsistencies in patient care delivery, improving access to technology to support accurate diagnosis, and addressing issues of health equity that result in inadequate care for underserved communities. The report also underscores the differences in how patients and healthcare providers perceive the effectiveness of the care being delivered.

"The latest data from the Beyond Intervention initiative reveals diverging views between patients and healthcare administrators on how each views the patient experience and the impact of inequities across the healthcare continuum," said Nick West M.D., chief medical officer and divisional vice president of medical affairs at Abbott’s vascular business. "This research solidifies the need for physicians to leverage innovative technologies to improve the ability to make and communicate a diagnosis as early as possible in the patient journey."

Key Research Findings

The Beyond Intervention initiative secured feedback from more than 1,800 patients with cardiovascular disease, physicians and healthcare leaders. The research uncovered the growing demand for an industry-wide standard in technology to better assess vascular diseases. Insights from this research can help hospitals and physicians improve the patient experience.

Key insights from the research include:

  • Improved patient experiences depend on appropriate intervention in the earliest stages of the healthcare journey. The research suggests that setting industry-wide standards in diagnostic technologies, including tools, processes and training, can optimize the patient experience. This will enable physicians to make faster, more accurate individual diagnoses and referrals, including continuing physician and patient education on disease state awareness and symptom identification.
  • Health administrators and patients have differing views on the current patient experience. When it comes to patient satisfaction, the Beyond Intervention research reveals that healthcare administrators are more likely to rate the patient experience for people suffering from cardiovascular disease as more positive than the patients rate it themselves. With respect to patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), 65% of health administrators consider the patient experience ideal, while only 38% of patients believe this to be true.

  • Lack of electronic medical record interoperability is causing more than patient frustration. Over a third of patients with PAD stated they have to "constantly" provide medical history and information to physicians. In addition, 35% of healthcare providers and hospital leaders believe a lack of medical record integration among providers results in a limited exchange of patient history and information, creating inefficiencies and barriers for early and accurate diagnosis of CAD and PAD.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and digital health solutions can improve patient care. Advanced technologies like AI can benefit primary care physicians and specialists by optimizing diagnosis, identifying patient symptoms previously undetected or passed over, and improving the vascular patient experience.

  • Research reveals that people from underserved communities have greater challenges accessing care, understanding symptoms, and receiving diagnoses. Patients with CAD and PAD who identify as underserved report significantly more emotional impacts than their non-underserved counterparts. Female patients reported significantly more challenges than their male counterparts.  Issues of health equity related to socioeconomic status, age and gender need to be addressed as a significant barrier to both timely diagnosis and improving the patient experience.

“Inherent biases can hinder a physician’s ability to detect and recognize symptoms, especially for populations that have been historically misdiagnosed in the cardiovascular disease setting, such as young, female and certain ethnicities,” said Natalia Pinilla-Echeverri, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and interventional cardiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences/Niagara Health. “Research efforts must be developed on innovative technologies that can support physicians, like screening and stratification tools that can minimize the physician’s individual perspective and biases in order to improve long-term patient outcomes.”


Creating Diversity in Treatments to Serve Every Community

Abbott is committed to addressing barriers to healthcare, especially for those from underserved communities. The company is currently developing a new therapy to treat PAD, which is now being tested in a clinical trial. Abbott’s LIFE-BTK trial demonstrates its commitment to recruiting diverse participants to treat PAD. Too often, clinical trials are not representative of communities, especially those that are significantly or disproportionately affected by a disease state. By focusing on diversity and inclusion, Abbott is working to address health inequities and ensure products meet the needs of patients who need them the most.

PAD is a chronic circulatory condition that reduces blood flow to the legs, which, if left untreated, can result in unnecessary limb amputations and sometimes death. An estimated 200 million people have been diagnosed with PAD worldwide, which disproportionately affects people of color. The Beyond Intervention research showcases that patients with PAD perceive they have a consistently more challenging experience, see more doctors, and are more likely to receive ineffective treatment than patients with CAD.

Related Abbott Survey Content:

Emerging Technology and Data Key to Closing Treatment Gaps to Improve Cardiovascular Care."

VIDEO: Survey Shows Large Disconnect in Medical Technology Across Continuum of Care — Interview with Nick West, M.D.

VIDEO: Artificial Intelligence May Improve Cath Lab Interventions — Interview with Nick West, M.D.


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