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HRI’s Research Fellow Dr Katrina Giskes has been awarded the NSW & ACT Dr Charlotte Hespe Research Award for her outstanding work as a General Practitioner by GP Synergy.

As part of the Heart Rhythm and Stroke Prevention Group at HRI, Dr Giskes is working towards improving understanding of atrial fibrillation (AF) and the implementation of screening for AF.

AF is a common condition where the heart beats irregularly or rapidly and increases the risk of other complications such as heart failure and stroke. Although AF can have symptoms such as an irregular pulse, heart palpitations, dizziness, tiredness and weakness, people often have no symptoms at all or only experience symptoms some of the time. It is therefore important to diagnose the condition early for correct medical treatment.

Dr Giskes’ research project is called ‘AF TRENDS: Atrial fibrillation treatment, recommendations, electronic decision support and screening’ and is being conducted in conjunction with University of Notre Dame.

GPs work in a time-pressured environment, so to help relieve that pressure, Dr Giskes has come up with an innovative approach for patients to self-screen at screening stations situated in the GP waiting rooms that can integrate with the existing practice software and workflows.

By tak­ing AF screen­ing out­side of the GP con­sul­ta­tion, we can cre­ate more screen­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to detect asymp­to­matic AF in old­er adults, which will help reduce the inci­dence of avoid­able strokes,” Dr Giskes says.

The breakthrough with this innovation is the integration between the waiting room AF screening station with the GP’s electronic medical records. This means that GP’s can screen for arrythmias in their patients and have the results in the patient’s medical records before the patient has set foot in the consultation room.

This research appeared in the Western Advocate, 25 November 2020.


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