Your Heart Forecast is a set of two online tools, the first of which (Clinical version) has been made for Health Professionals to use with Consumers during a consultation. The second version (Consumer version) is intended to be used by Consumers without the assistance of a Health Professional. They both provide a graphical story:
- Starting with current CVD risk (where you are now)
- How you compare to a peer with ideal risk factor control and same CVD risk (your cardiovascular age)
- What happens to your risk as you get older if you make no changes (Your Heart Forecast), and
- What would happen to your risk in the future if you were able to make changes (e.g. stop smoking).
Your Heart Forecast is comprehensive, yet simple. It captures the short-term probability of an event for each individual together with arterial or cardiovascular age. These two metrics integrate both absolute and relative risk concepts. The tool then projects current risk into the future (The Heart Forecast) and dynamically graphs changes to CVD risk with changes in lifestyle both currently and into the future.
This approach is clearly unique. It was presented to, and enthusiastically endorsed, by the New Zealand Guidelines Group CVD guideline update committee and the Chair of the Cardiac Society. Following this, and in a collaborative partnership with the Heart Foundation, the Heart Forecast was developed into an electronic tool, able to be easily integrated into any GP electronic medical software and be accessible via the Heart Foundation website.
The Consumer version of Your Heart Forecast allows for individuals who don’t already know their cholesterol or blood pressure information. If they don’t ‘know their numbers’ substitute average and 75th percentile values are used to show the individual what their risk profile could look like, they are encouraged to find out what their numbers are in order to know where within these potential risk profiles they actually sit.
Your Heart Forecast uses the notion of ‘Heart Age’ to convey a comparative age to the individual, showing how old their heart is compared to an individual who has an ‘at target’ clinical profile. Arguably the notion of an individual’s Heart Age is far more useful than ‘Lifetime Risk’.