New research finds challenges in symptom recognition and diagnostic testing can impact patient satisfaction for people with vascular disease

Forty per cent of physicians in India believe that a “lack of standardised approach for diagnosing CAD/PAD” is a top obstacle to an accurate diagnosis for their patients. This is higher than the global average of 30%

Abbott has 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.

Nick West M.D., chief medical officer and divisional vice president of medical affairs, Abbott’s vascular business said, “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. 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.”

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 optimise 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: The Beyond Intervention research reveals that healthcare administrators are more likely to rate an experience for people suffering from cardiovascular disease as more positive than the patients themselves. However, both patients and physicians in India see the CAD/PAD experience much better than global averages. With respect to patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) in India, 60% of health administrators consider the patient experience ideal, while 54% of patients believe this to be true.

Lack of electronic medical record interoperability is causing more than patient frustration: Over a third of vascular patients stated they have to “constantly” provide medical history and information to physicians.  In addition, 1 in 4 healthcare providers and 37% 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.

Lack of standardised processes and technologies for diagnosis: Forty per cent Indian physicians feel that a ‘lack of standardized approach for diagnosis CAD/PAD’ is a key barrier for accurate diagnosis.

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. In fact, 43% Indian patients acknowledged the value of artificial intelligence to help diagnose CAD/PAD earlier.

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.

Dr Ajit Mullasari, Director of Cardiology, Institute of cardiovascular diseases, Madras Medical Mission, Chennai, commenting on the research findings said, “India is a diverse country and there are many challenges in vascular care. We need to design and include innovative technologies, foster a culture of greater collaboration, and implement uniform diagnosis and screening protocols to ensure that many more people can continue to benefit across the continuum of vascular care. Innovation needs people, processes and policy to move work together for optimum patient outcomes.”

Natalia Pinilla-Echeverri, M.D., professor of cardiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and interventional cardiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences/Niagara Health said, “Inherent biases can hinder a physician’s ability to detect and recognize symptoms, especially for populations with less prevalence of vascular diseases, such as young, female or certain ethnicities. Abbott’s research recommends leveraging innovative technologies that can support physicians, like tools that can screen for risk factors; this can minimize the physician’s individual perspective and biases in order to improve long-term patient outcomes.”

About Beyond Intervention Research:

Abbott surveyed 1,800 stakeholders, including 1,289 vascular disease patients, 408 healthcare physicians and 173 healthcare leaders from April to June 2021. Respondents to the online survey represent 13 countries: United States, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

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