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Abigail Lyons


4th March 2024


Going Red with DHI

Coronary Heart Disease is a leading cause of death for women in Scotland

Towards the end of Heart Health month, the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI) helped raise #GoRed awareness through hosting a workshop on Women’s Cardiovascular Health Data. On February 23, we welcomed 33 attendees from Industry, the NHS, Academia, the Public and Third sectors. This group, together with some patients, brought their insight and expertise to bear in exploring problems inherent in women’s heart health care.

That there are problems is inarguable. Coronary Heart Disease is a leading cause of death for women in Scotland, but as reported in the BHF Report Bias and Biology, women who have heart attacks receive poorer care than men at every stage of their medical journeys. Scotland is taking a leading role in addressing this gender gap. It’s a key priority in the Women’s Health Plan and Scottish clinicians are pioneering novel approaches such as the use of lower detection thresholds of a key biomarker when diagnosing heart attacks in women.

DHI is working with partners in Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Edinburgh University’s Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme (IHDP) to develop ways in which we might unlock value in Scotland’s health data to improve the awareness, diagnosis, treatment and management of cardiovascular conditions in women. The workshop held on February 23rd was the first step on that journey. We were inspired by talks from Scotland’s Women’s Health Champion, the British Heart Foundation and a patient representative from Heart Failure Warriors NI. Then we got down to work, with a programme of activities developed and delivered by DHI’s in-house design team.

Participants were first asked to think about the data that currently exists around women’s cardiovascular health, and then about the opportunities that might arise from using these assets in different ways. After a networking lunch, our workshop attendees were introduced to a series of personas and encouraged to explore the clinical pathways that these personas might tread. It was a powerful way to engage with the issues associated with women’s heart health problems.

One participant reported getting so invested in the persona of Leanne (a 45-year-old project manager living in Dundee who had recently undergone cardiac surgery to address a congenital heart condition) that they thought there should be a TV series about her!

There was a little bit of seeing red as the workshop progressed and the consequences of some healthcare inequalities were more fully revealed - but this only fuelled more creativity and several opportunities have been identified to take forward.

Planning for a follow-up workshop is in progress and we invite interested parties to contact us to see how they can get involved.


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