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NICE Endorsed Tool Launched to Support Patients and Doctors in Shared Decision-Making

23rd November 2015

People with atrial fibrillation (AF) are set to benefit from an innovative online decision support tool launched this week. The tool encourages partnership between them and their healthcare professional when reaching a decision about the use of anticoagulant medicines to reduce their risk of stroke.

The interactive tool is in two parts: the first allows a healthcare professional to enter health information about a particular person into the online tool, which then provides individualised prescribing recommendations based on the NICE AF clinical guidelines. Each recommendation is supported by a reason, important management considerations, common treatment side-effects and appropriate references.

The second part incorporates NICE’s patient decision aid, tohelp healthcare professionals support the person with AF weigh up the possiblebenefits, harms, advantages and disadvantages of different treatment optionsThe tool allows the person to rate what is and isn't important to them instroke prevention and come to an informed decision about their care.
The tool will be evaluated in practice as part of a NICE/Keele University research programme.

Welcoming the launch of the tool Professor Klaus Dugi,Medical Director, Boehringer Ingelheim UK and Ireland said: “Treating patients with atrial fibrillation can be complicated for doctors and nurses. They need to weigh up multiple factors and balance out increased risk their patients have of having a stroke with the type of treatments available. This innovative tool will help simplify and manage this, by ensuring that treatment recommendations are made jointly by the doctor and patient
“We’re extremely proud to be the first pharmaceutical company to work in such close collaboration with NICE, to deliver a tool that will benefit healthcare professionals and result in more informed and appropriately treated patients.”

Professor Steven Chapman from the Centre for Medicines Optimisation at Keele University said: “This is a great example of a university bridging the public and private sector with a project that benefits all parties by supporting evidence based prescribing. Computerised decision support tools have been shownto improve implementation of clinical guidelines.
“This tool to support prescribing for atrial fibrillation will help distill the evidence from NICE guidance and tailor it to the needs of the individual patient. Importantly it generates user friendly visual aids that the doctor and patient can share , thus increasing the patient’s understanding of the risks and benefits of treatment and in this way make it more likely that patients will stick with their treatment plan.”

Commenting on the launch Paul Chrisp, Director of the medicines and prescribing programme at NICE said: “This tool is an innovative resource for the healthcare professionals and people with atrial fibrillation. It supports their commendations in our guideline on this important condition, and we’re pleased to endorse it.”
Whilst not intended to replace a healthcare professional’s clinical judgement it does support clinical decision making. Most importantly it also provides a practical basis for people with atrial fibrillation to have informed discussions with their doctor or nurse about the choices they have when it comes to appropriate management of their condition to reduce their risk of having a stroke, a vital element of patient-centred care.”

The full tool is available from today and can be accessed here:

1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).Clinical Guideline 180. Atrial Fibrillation: The management of AtrialFibrilliation. Avaliable at:
2. Keele University Prescribing Decision Support, Centre for Medicines Optimisation anticoagulation therapy decision support tool. Availableat