Physicians are not adequately following clinical practice guidelines on cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention, citing poor usability and adaptability as key obstacles to implementation (Ref. 1). Furthermore, there are large differences across Europe regarding lifestyle and risk factor management (Ref. 2). Both of these shortcomings have serious implications on patient management and outcomes, thus the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) has been taking a serious look at how guidelines-based tools in CVD prevention can be made more applicable and user-friendly whilst both relevant and adaptable to the European clinical context.
The result of such discussions has been the development of HeartScore (Ref. 3), a new computer-based tool for CVD risk prediction and management, to be launched by the ESC on 2 April 2004.
A fully functional computer program, HeartScore offers significant advantages over former static risk chart formats, by providing physicians with a fully interactive piece of software that they can run from their PC and with which they can save patient records for future monitoring and comparison. Physicians can download HeartScore free of charge from the ESC web site, from 2 April 2004.
Professor Ian Graham, Chairman of the Joint European Societies Cardiovascular Prevention Committee, comments, "The major advantage of the HeartScore program over printed risk chart tables is its interactivity and adaptability. In using risk charts, one can only assess total risk, but with HeartScore it is possible to view changing risk. In other words, it is possible to see the difference in risk predictions with different target entries for blood pressure or cholesterol levels, or compare the risk prediction for a patient if he or she stops or continue smoking. The visual emphasis and usage of bar- and pie-charts is very effective and can also be shown to the patient directly to help get the message home".