CHICAGO — Higi announced the launch of a new self-service health risk test, developed in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology (ACC) through its CardioSmart initiative. The two organizations are collaborating under a shared objective to combat the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. Together they aim to arm consumers and clinicians with evidence-based, risk-guided intervention strategies for the prevention of heart attack and stroke.
“Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer globally and impacts every community in the United States, but it is often preventable,” said Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org. “It’s critical that people understand what puts them at risk for heart disease and what immediate preventative measures they can take. Through this collaboration with Higi we’re able to reach patients in their daily lives and educate them with personalized, guideline-recommended information that will help them reduce their risk of heart disease.”
The Heart Health Risk Test addresses a leading health concern of Higi users, who have relied on Higi’s stations to measure and track blood pressure and weight, both key indicators of heart health, since the company’s launch in 2012. This new risk test follows Higi’s launch in November 2019 of a type 2 diabetes risk test, developed in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, which has been completed over 350,000 times to date, with over 140,000 high risk readings. Additionally, cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as the risk factors associated with their development, such as obesity and hypertension, are leading factors that increase the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
Rush University System for Health (Rush), a leader in achieving hypertension control, will be among the first health system to collaborate with Higi and the ACC on this station-initiated risk test. When a consumer completes the risk test at a Higi Smart Health Station in Chicago, he or she will have the opportunity to connect directly with Rush for more information and to seek care. Dr. Annabelle Santos Volgman, a practicing cardiologist and leader at Rush and governor-elect of the ACC Illinois Chapter shares “this heart health risk test is a great opportunity for patients to learn how to take charge of their health. High blood pressure affects more than 1 in 3 adults in the US. It can lead to strokes, heart failure and heart attack, but can be prevented and treated. For patients who don’t know where to begin, Higi is an easy place to start and gives us, as providers, the information we need to have the right conversations to manage high blood pressure and other risk factors associated with heart attack and stroke.”
The assessment builds on the ACC’s ASCVD Risk Estimator Plus algorithm, which estimates a patient’s 10-year initial atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk to better inform shared-decision making between the patient and clinician in determining health interventions. The assessment pairs station-based body measurements with health survey responses to determine a consumer’s risk score and range. Personalized digital communications empower test participants to take action to address their specific risk factors identified through the test with the support of local resources and includes educational information from the ACC’s CardioSmart initiative. For test participants who fall in higher risk ranges, guidance could include a recommendation to seek care by consulting with a primary care physician or a cardiologist and to complete a cholesterol screening. This risk assessment is non-diagnostic, as only a clinician can provide a diagnosis; rather it provides participants with a gauge on their level of risk.
Year after year, 65% or more of blood pressure tests performed on Higi Stations show results in the hypertensive range, one of the leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This new resource will enable consumers to be more aware of their risk and to understand the linkage between their high blood pressure, lifestyle choices, and risk for a heart attack or stroke at unmatched scale.
With a quick visit to a Higi Health Station, adults between the ages of 20 and 79* can sit down, select the Heart Health Risk Test, take their blood pressure and weight and answer a few simple lifestyle questions to become better informed about their 10-year risk (or lifetime risk) of a heart attack or stroke. Those in the Chicago area can choose to connect directly with a Rush physician for clinical guidance and care.
“We are thrilled to add to our suite of assessments in service of our users and to extend our collaboration with the ACC” says Jeff Bennett, CEO at Higi. “In February of 2020, we saw 1.2 million people participate in the heart health survey our two organizations launched across our station network. This new risk test is a logical evolution of our collaboration – not only will this new risk test empower consumers to proactively address risk factors associated with their heart health, it will connect consumers to the providers who can deliver the care needed to reduce the prevalence of heart attack and stroke in our country.”
Consumers can complete The Heart Health Risk Test nearly anywhere Higi Stations are available.
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