Pharma giant, Sanofi-Aventis, creates useful medical app for educating patients on heart arrhythmia

Atrial fibrillation affects over two million Americans, representing the most common cardiac arrhythmia and accounting for a significant fraction of ischemic strokes.

Despite its prevalence, atrial fibrillation is a complex illness that can be challenging for patients and their families to comprehend.

The management of atrial fibrillation (what’s the difference between rate and rhythm control? why does my family member need blood thinners?) can be particularly difficult to understand.

To help healthcare providers educate and explain atrial fibrillation to patients and their families, the pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis sponsored, and Chandler-Chicco Companies developed, the AFib Educator App for the iPhone/iPad and desktop widget.

This app is part of AF STAT a collaboration aimed towards elevating atrial fibrillation on the national healthcare agenda and improving understanding, diagnosis, and management of this illness.

Below the jump, see how the AFib Educator App can help demonstrate the intricacies of atrial fibrillation for patients and their families.

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The AFib Educator app opens with links to information about the app, demonstration videos, management videos, and facts about atrial fibrillation.

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The AFib Educator app, as noted in the introduction, is part of the AF STAT initiative, sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis and designed by the Chandler-Chicco Companies.

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The app’s demonstration videos include “normal” and atrial fibrillation versions of the beating heart (in both animated and “x-ray” modes) and electrocardiograms.

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Each video includes an introductory slide describing the video in appropriate non-medical professional language and highlighting the differences between the “normal” heart and the heart in atrial fibrillation. The videos are high-quality, accompanied by audio, and feature basic playback controls.

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Similarly, the app features videos of dynamic cardiac monitor tracings for normal sinus rhythm and atrial fibrillation.

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Moreover, the app offers management videos covering rate control, rhythm control, rate reduction & rhythm restoration, and atrial fibrillation & stroke risk, to help convey these complex concepts to patients and their families.

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The management videos depict a heart beating in atrial fibrillation for several seconds, then apply the specified intervention (rate control, rhythm control, etc.) to illustrate how the heart beats with a successful response.

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The app also includes a video portraying why atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke (with the aid of annotation and animation), a concept that can be challenging to explain to patients.

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Finally, the app contains several common questions about atrial fibrillation, as well as a prime (and repeated) link to the AF STAT website for users to learn more about atrial fibrillation.

Pricing:

  • The AFib Educator App is free at the iTunes store.

Likes:

  • Colorful and high-quality animations that vividly portray atrial fibrillation-related phenomena for non-healthcare professionals
  • Easy-to-understand introductions to the demonstration videos
  • Free!

Dislikes:

  • Minimal depth of detail—appropriate for non-healthcare professionals
  • App only discusses general pharmacologic management of atrial fibrillation, not cardioversion or ablation
  • The AFib Educator App from Sanofi-Aventis represents a terrific free and interactive way for healthcare providers to illustrate atrial fibrillation and its pharmacologic management for patients and families.

Author:

Amit Patel, MD

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