Halton and Widnes Deliver Pioneering Digital Health Pathway for Heart Health

  • Innovative digital heart failure pathway will support patients across Cheshire and Merseyside living with heart and circulatory diseases through a partnership with Widnes Primary Care Network.
  • Empowering healthcare professionals to identify and recommend the right apps at appropriate points in each patient’s care journey.
  • Digital pathway designed to ensure the safety, clinical and system effectiveness, and consistent distribution of apps across the heart health system in the region.

December 2023

Today, Widnes in NHS Cheshire and Merseyside launch a new digital pathway for heart health, supporting healthcare professionals (HCPs) to feel confident in prescribing trusted and assessed digital health apps to patients living with heart and circulatory diseases across the region. Within Cheshire and Merseyside heart failure is a strategic priority. In the Halton locality, 10% of patients die from heart disease, giving a prevalence higher than the national average.

In the UK, heart failure affects over 900,000 people with 200,000 new cases annually and is the leading cause of hospital admissions in over 65s.1,2 Projections indicate that hospital admissions for heart failure are set to rise by 50 percent in the next 25 years with 5-year survival rates worse than breast or prostate cancer.3,4 People living with heart failure require significant input from NHS services. Caring for patients with heart failure accounts for 2% of the total NHS budget and 5% of all emergency hospital admissions in the UK.5

In partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim and ORCHA (the Organisation for the Review and Care of Health apps for the NHS), this new digital care pathway will help to provide health and care professionals across primary, secondary, tertiary care, with the most appropriate apps to prescribe to patients as a digital adjunct to treatment, aiming to improve outcomes for patients who have or will be diagnosed with heart failure.

GP and Heart Failure Lead in Widnes, Dr Henry Chan, said, “Heart failure is a prevalent and incurable condition that requires a focus on managing symptoms and slowing its progression. Unfortunately, it leads to early mortality and often results in emergency hospital admissions, placing a significant long-term demand on healthcare and social services. We are delighted to introduce this innovative digital pathway for heart health to recommend the most appropriate digital tools to support patients throughout their care journey.”

Vani Manja, Country Managing Director and Head of Human Pharma at Boehringer Ingelheim UK & Ireland says: “This project was led by a deep understanding from heart failure patients and clinicians themselves about their experiences and we collaboratively generated solutions that underpin this new pathway. I am hopeful that we can improve the experience and outcomes for patients across heart failure pathways, with a view to offering it more widely in other regions.”

Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO of ORCHA, said: “Increasing the adoption of digital health is the key to creating a more sustainable healthcare system and has vast potential to save lives. All apps available have been assessed and approved against ORCHA’s standards, so they are only directed to quality-assured tools and this ensures the most effective are recommended consistently across the system.”

Digitalisation and reform across the NHS pose both opportunities and challenges for patients and HCPs. There are over 350,000 digital health technologies on the market, including apps that can help prevent, diagnose, educate, and monitor heart health. While these innovative tools have the potential to bring significant value to patients, only 20% of apps currently meet the set quality thresholds.

Both the pathway and the apps featured are held in NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Digital Health Formulary – a single platform where staff can quickly find and recommend an app to a patient. Once a healthcare professional has prescribed a tool, the patient receives a text or email with a link to download the app and access it via a website.


Join our audience of healthcare industry professionals

Join our audience of healthcare industry professionals