Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in clinical practice and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Screening for AF in asymptomatic patients has been proposed as a way of reducing the burden of the disease by detecting people who would benefit from prophylactic anticoagulation therapy prior to the onset of symptoms. However, for screening to be an effective intervention it must improve the detection of AF and provide benefit for those who are detected earlier as a result of screening.
The national roll out of mobile ECG devices by Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) was born out of a system-wide procurement initiative to promote the uptake of a digital technology (mobile ECG). This was a novel approach to facilitate innovation adoption which prompted the AHSN Network to commission an independent evaluation of the roll out, at AHSN level, to understand its effectiveness, and in particular what can be learned about: the environments in which the devices are most effective, what characterises an effective implementation package, the impact on the market place, patients (through AF detection) and providers; and the health economic aspects of this type of programme.