What is IMPACT-AF?

  • A 12-month, cluster randomized, clinical trial taking place in Nova Scotia.
  • The intervention tool being tested has computerized clinical guidelines for Atrial Fibrillation (AF) management and provides patient-specific, evidence based, recommendations and point-of-care decision support.
  • Half of participating primary care providers (and their patients) will be randomized to use the intervention tool. The other half will be randomized to continue with usual care.
  • Providers within a clinic who share in patient care (e.g., off-hour patient coverage or collaborative practice) will receive the same randomization assignment.

Who can join?

  • Primary care providers in Nova Scotia who have in-office high speed internet (EMR not required).
  • Patients of participating providers who have AF.  The diagnosis can be new or longstanding, and no specific treatment is required to be eligible.

What are the benefits of joining?

Health care professionals: Primary care providers may appreciate the opportunity to utilize leading-edge health informatics technologies and earn professional development credits. Remuneration is also provided for time spent completing study activities.

Persons living with atrial fibrillation: Without the support of individuals with AF, this study would not be possible!  There are no costs to join, and no new tests or visits to your health care provider(s) are required as part of this study.

By joining IMPACT-AF, you would not only be helping local researchers gain better insight into the social and economic costs of AF, but also helping to evaluate a tool with the potential to:

  • simplify and prioritize AF patient care needs;
  • improve patient-physician communication and health outcomes;
  • be applied to other disease states; and,
  • have the potential to be incorporated into electronic medical record systems.

What would a care provider* do?

  • Invite all eligible AF patients to participate (supporting materials provided).
  • Correspond with the study staff to arrange data collection (note: there are no data forms to fill out).
  • Control group: continue to provide usual care.
  • Intervention group: participate in 2.5 hours of intervention training and use the online tool to support patient care for ~12 months.

     *Note: Other staff members may also participate in the invitation process and use of the intervention tool.

What would a person with AF do?

  • Sign an Informed Consent Form, which gives the study permission to collect specific types of AF-related medical history from your medical records.
  • Complete brief questionnaires at baseline and again 12 months later. These are available in paper and online versions – your choice!
  • Using a 12-month AF Diary, keep track of AF-related health care visits and any time missed from work and/or household activities due to these health care visits or your AF symptoms.  The AF Diary is also available in a paper or online format.
  • Control group: continue to interact with your health care team as usual.
  • Intervention group:  access additional online tools for AF management (optional).

What support does the study office provide?

For care providers:

  • All materials required for patient invitation.
  • All data collection activities.
  • Patient consent discussions can take place via telephone with trained study staff.
  • For intervention providers:
    • We will work with you to secure the necessary tools required to access the study tools in your clinic.
    • An online help desk is available for technical support.

For participants with AF:

  • Study activities can be completed online or using paper-based materials with support from study staff.
  • We can be reached Monday-Friday, 8am to 4pm at our toll free study number: 1-888-550-0557 to answer any questions
  • For intervention participants:
    • Tools can be accessed through a secure study website or a mobile app.
    • An online help desk is available for technical support.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

  • Privacy is a very important part of this study. Every effort will be made to protect the privacy and confidentiality of our participants.
  • All information will be entered into a secure study registry which is located at the provincial health IT organization, HITS-NS.
  • All names and contact information will be kept secure by the research team at the Nova Scotia Health Authority and will not be shared with others without permission.

What will happen after the study?

  • Hopefully, the study will show that the online clinical decision support tool is beneficial for both physicians and patients.
  • Participants randomized to the control group will be given priority access to the online tools after the trial ends.
  • If use of the intervention tool proves to be a more effective way of treating and managing AF, this technology may then be applied to other disease states.

Who is sponsoring this study?

  • Bayer HealthCare is sponsoring the study with an investigator-sponsored research grant.
  • The intervention tool follows the Canadian AF Management guidelines and does not recommend the use of any particular treatment.

Our PartnersNova Scotia Health AuthorityNS Dept. of Health and WellnessDoctors Nova Scotia • Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians • Dalhousie UniversityHeart and Stroke Foundation • Bayer HealthCareNICHE Research Group

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