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59 Overdiagnosis of atrial fibrillation through the use of the consumer-facing smartphone applications
  1. Sadaf Ekhlas,
  2. Eddy Lang
  1. University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine, Calgary, Canada

Abstract

Objectives Technological advancements and consumer use of increasingly sensitive diagnostic and screening tests are assumed to decrease the incidence of life-threatening health hazards. Specifically, consumers can now purchase affordable devices designed to detect arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation. However, for asymptomatic patients, the benefits remain unproven and therefore can cause unnecessary harm through additional testing and treatment burden leading to increased healthcare costs. This workshop will explore the issues raised by the widespread availability of smartphone applications that screen for atrial fibrillation and their place in view of existing clinical practice guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on this practice. The goals of this session will be to introduce attendees to the risks and benefits of using smartphone applications and to develop a list of criteria for when such devices can benefit patients and when they should be avoided.

Method The workshop will introduce attendees to consumer-facing health applications like Kardiamobile. Following the presentation, attendees will be divided into small groups and given the task of recording responses to key questions provided designed to stimulate discussion. Each group will then discuss their responses to the audience in a synergistic manner. The findings from these presentations will be noted and discussed further.

Results The workshop feedback will be organized into themes and used to inform sister review articles targeting the public and primary care providers. The proposed solutions to the challenges of using publicly advertised, consumer-facing apps will be used towards making informed decisions by the public when considering acquiring the apps, proposing effective policymaking in order to promote citizen protection, and avoiding unnecessary healthcare costs. The findings will also be used to promote changes in healthcare provider standards of care, as well as a discussion on effective patient education on the benefits and risks associated with the use of technological devices in primary care.

Conclusions This workshop will look at the use of consumer testing and self-screening tools from the standpoint of overdiagnosis. The outcomes of this session will be used to make policy recommendations to reduce pathology overdiagnosis in otherwise healthy patients.

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