More than 230 Woolgoolga locals have had their heart health checked recently. The check was part of Woopi Medical Centre’s Healthy Heart Assessment.
Eligible patients were invited to take part in the assessment during the second half of 2019. Woopi Medical Centre used demographic information to identify patients who may be at risk of heart disease and offer them a free heart health check. The GPs also used a clinical audit tool to analyse data and develop strategies to improve patient care.
The initiative came out of a Practice Leadership Program organised by North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN). The program aims to give participants enhanced skills to influence and lead change within their practice.
Practice principal Dr May Zaw said the assessment helped pick up ‘silent conditions’. Often patients showed no sign anything was wrong.
“It assures me we are looking after our patients in a comprehensive way and promoting good health in our community,” Dr May said.
Her colleagues Dr H Mun Awn and Dr Wah Wah Htut agreed.
Dr Awn said testing had revealed potentially life-threatening heart problems requiring further investigation. Dr Htut said many patients had atrial fibrillation, an arrythmia of the heart.
“Arrythmias are very common in the community and sometimes they are under diagnosed,” Dr Htut said. “This was an excellent initiative and I thank my team and the community who actively participated.”
The heart assessments included an electrocardiogram (ECG) test. Practice nurse Leanne Whitaker said some of the people assessed didn’t know what an ECG was. They also didn’t know doctors’ surgeries could do ECGs.
“I’ve had feedback from patients who were very grateful for the heart assessment,” Leanne said.
As a result of the program, people now have a better understanding of their heart health. This helps doctors to understand more about their patients’ conditions, monitor their overall wellbeing and recommend actions, activities or treatments when needed.
Woolgoolga is one of six North Coast locations in the NCPHN’s Healthy Towns program. The program aims to find local solutions for better health and wellbeing.