Bupa UK has rolled out a new rapid cardiac assessment service to all its health insurance customers, providing a fast route for diagnosing heart conditions from the safety of their home.
The new service has been introduced amid growing concern from cardiologists that thousands of people may be putting themselves at greater risk of long-term heart damage having delayed seeking medical help during the pandemic.
At the height of the lockdown, Bupa saw a 60% drop in customer requests for an initial consultation with a cardiologist compared to the same period last year1. Similarly, the British Heart Foundation reports that the number of people attending hospital with a suspected heart attack has halved during lockdown2.
Alex Perry, CEO, Bupa UK Insurance said: “If you’re suffering from cardiac symptoms, like chest pains or palpitations, it’s vital that you do not delay seeking specialist support. During the current crisis we know that some people have been reluctant to come forward to get symptoms checked, which could lead to serious health problems in the long-term.
“Our rapid cardiac assessment service provides reassurance for patients who may be anxious about seeking help, offering fast access to specialist diagnosis from the safety and comfort of their own home.”
The new service, which has been successfully piloted in London, offers customers a video consultation with a cardiologist within 36 hours of contacting a specialist triage team – much faster than the usual time to arrange a face-to-face appointment. If further investigation is needed to support a diagnosis, the latest electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood test kits can be sent direct to a customer’s home and a follow up video consultation arranged at no extra cost to discuss the results and next steps.
Dr Ravi Assomull, a consultant cardiologist who has been supporting patients with the rapid cardiac assessment service, said: “Patients with heart palpitations benefit particularly well from this as the whole pathway can be conducted exclusively at home with a full diagnosis and management plan reached in a timely fashion. The convenience and clinical robustness of these investigations suggest that these may have a lasting role even after the threats from the Covid-19 pandemic recedes.”
The new cardiac service is part of Bupa’s enhanced range of remote health services. Through Bupa From Home, customers can get advice from nurses on everyday health concerns, treatment from GPs, physios, mental health therapists, and fast access to diagnosis and treatment for critical conditions such as cancer, and mental health.
Bupa’s rapid cardiac assessment service:
- Step 1: Following a GP referral, customers can call Bupa’s cardiac support team to access the new rapid cardiac assessment service.
- Step 2: A specialist triage team will ask a few questions about your heart health concerns and book you an appointment with the right cardiac specialist. You’ll then have a consultation within 36 hours to discuss your symptoms – and often on the same day.
- Step 3: If further tests are needed to support a diagnosis, your consultant will arrange these – including the latest at home diagnostic tests sent direct to your home within three days of the consultation. A follow-up consultation will be arranged to discuss the results and next steps at no extra cost.