Man covering his heart

New tool to improve understanding of cardiovascular health inequalities

A new online tool could be about to unlock a whole new layer of understanding of cardiovascular health inequalities in England.

The tool has been developed by the British Heart Foundation in collaboration with the Strategy Unit and will, for the first time, grant analysts the ability to ascertain with pinpoint accuracy where the socio-economic inequities fall across the treatment pathways for coronary heart disease in England.

By using the tool, clinicians will be able to sift through detailed analysis captured at ICB level across over 30 different metrics, providing the “clearest picture yet” of cardiovascular health inequalities in England.

The British Heart Foundation’s ambition is for the tool to be used as a backbone for policy decisions in the future, helping to narrow, or possibly even one day eradicate, cardiovascular health inequalities up and down the country.

Some of the latest data indicates that tackling cardiovascular disease mortality rates has been slower in deprived areas compared to the more affluent regions.

The British Heart Foundation’s Director of Health Insights, Kate Cheema, said: “Cardiovascular disease is a major driver of deep-rooted yet largely avoidable health inequalities. For the first time, this free and easy-to-use online tool makes it possible to identify exactly where inequities exist along the cardiovascular disease pathway at a local level.

"This could help focus efforts to address the most significant and urgent gaps between cardiovascular health and wealth, which could ultimately save lives.”

The tool is part of the British Heart Foundation’s new hub for all the latest news, research, and insight pertaining to cardiovascular health inequalities – the hub includes an overview of new analysis that evaluated 1.5 billion records to investigate any trends that emerged over time.

Some of the analysis’ findings included:

  • Premature deaths were more likely to occur in the most deprived areas.
  • Higher hospital admission rates for emergency care in the most deprived areas.
  • Preventative healthcare measures such as flu vaccines, medications, and elective procedures were more likely to be deployed for patients in the least deprived areas.

The Strategy Unit’s Head of Research and Policy, Steven Wyatt, added: “Socio-economic inequalities in cardiovascular disease are substantial and persistent.

"We hope this tool will help local health systems target their efforts to reduce these inequalities by providing them with detailed information about where inequalities emerge and develop along the disease pathway.”

To access the new tool, click here.

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