Since going live in late January, 7,072 people had completed the HeartAware assessment through early May, and 2,645 have been labeled "at risk."Wow. Think of all that testing, office visits and the like. Who knew?
"There's an awful lot of people who develop a bad event from heart disease on a yearly basis, not to mention the 8 or 9 million folks walking around with some form of blocked arteries and abnormal functions," said Dr. Vince Bufalino, medical director of cardiovascular services at Edward Heart Hospital.
"But when you look at the random public you wouldn't predict [these HeartAware at-risk numbers] up front," said Bufalino.
More than half of the at-risk test takers (1,597) accepted Edward's offer for follow-up services.
Well someone did. Because with the stroke of a little logo change and voilà - another hospital in Maryland or Ohio or anywhere else you please can have the same assessment.
This is a program started by the HeartAware organization, a program of the National Heart Association. So who is the National Heart Association?
Well, I'm not sure. I'm not sure it's a real organization, but rather a front.
What I can tell you is that HeartAware is a product of Byrne Healthcare who labels this program as a "strategic marketing program for healthcare providers that identifies undiagnosed and at-risk individuals in their community that have disease and mobilizes them into their hospital or clinic." So it seems to me that the National Heart Association is really a marketing firm, and has nothing to do with heart health, other than to do marketing for hospital systems.
More impressive, they also have a whole line similar risk assessment tools for orthopedics, diabetes, stroke, sleep disorders, lung disease and cancer!
Now there certainly is nothing wrong with people being empowered with performing their tests online and seeing how their "risk bars" turn from "healthy green" to "threateningly red." But when Congress wants to look for ways to trim costs, maybe they should look at the fact that over 1/3rd of on-line people are found "at-risk" and a remarkably high number are undergoing testing that is likely to be of very low yield, moderate cost, has a real and significant false-positive rate to every test done that might incur more costs and more testing, and some of which might be quite invasive and carry significant risks.
But it's all about awareness, right?
Well, now you're aware that the so-called National Heart Association does not exist and maybe this prevention thing promoted by our President and government organizations to save costs in health care might just be doing the opposite.