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Cardiovascular disease risk communication in NHS Health Checks: video-stimulated recall interviews with practitioners

Gidlow, Christopher and Ellis, Naomi and Riley, Victoria and Cowap, Lisa and Crone, Diane and Cottrell, Elizabeth and Grogan, Sarah and Chambers, Ruth and Calvert, Sian and Clark-Carter, David (2021) Cardiovascular disease risk communication in NHS Health Checks: video-stimulated recall interviews with practitioners. BJGP Open. ISSN 2398-3795

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Abstract

Background NHS Health Check (NHSHC) is a national programme to identify and manage cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Practitioners delivering the programme should be competent in discussing CVD risk, but there is evidence of limited understanding of the recommended 10 year/centage CVD risk scores. Lifetime CVD risk calculators might improve understanding and communication of risk. Aim To explore practitioner understanding, perceptions and experiences of CVD risk communication in NHSHCs when using two different CVD risk calculators. Design & setting Qualitative video-stimulated recall (VSR) study with NHSHC practitioners. Method VSR interviews were conducted with practitioners who delivered NHSHCs using either the QRISK2 10-year risk calculator (n=7) or JBS3 lifetime CVD risk calculator (n=8). Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Results Findings from analysis of VSR interviews with 15 practitioners (9 Healthcare Assistants, 6 General Practice Nurses) are presented by risk calculator. There was limited understanding and confidence of 10-year risk, which was used to guide clinical decisions through determining low/medium/high risk thresholds, rather than as a risk communication tool. Potential benefits of some JBS functions were evident, particularly heart age, risk manipulation and visual presentation of risk. Conclusions There is a gap between the expectation and reality of practitioners’ understanding, competencies and training in CVD risk communication for NHS Health Check. Practitioners would welcome heart age and risk manipulation functions of JBS3 to promote patient understanding of CVD risk, but there is a more fundamental need for practitioner training in CVD risk communication.

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