New NHS England guidance on implementing PIFU for patients with heart valve disease

Published On: 3 August 2023Categories: News

Traditionally heart valve follow-ups in outpatients are offered at routine intervals. Although this works well for some patients, for those who are managing their condition well, it often means time and money spent on a trip to a hospital that isn’t needed.

Patient Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU) describes when a patient, or their carer, can book follow-up appointments if and when they feel they need one. PIFU works well alongside surveillance imaging such as echocardiography, giving patients with heart valve disease the control to self-manage their condition but also giving them the opportunity to contact their heart valve team and book an appointment if they develop new symptoms or have any questions.

For patients, this means control and choice over how and when they access their care, whilst clinicians can feel reassured that they’re making the best use of their time to see the patients who need them most.

Heart Valve Voice has supported NHS England to produce new guidance to help NHS providers and systems implement patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) and regular surveillance imaging for patients with mild to moderate heart valve disease.  

Designed to supplement NHS England’s generic PIFU guide, the new guidance explains which heart valve disease patients are most suitable for PIFU and provides tailored advice on designing a PIFU model for heart valve services.

The guide also sets out how clinicians should have an informed, shared decision-making conversation with patients before making a joint decision about whether PIFU is right for them.

If your organisation is interested in implementing PIFU in your cardiology service, NHS England’s Outpatient Recovery and Transformation Programme has produced a range of resources and case studies to support your efforts. Visit FutureNHS to find out more.

Heart Valve Voice Executive Director, Wil Woan, said “Heart Valve Voice welcomes the publication of this guidance, which gives patients control and choice in how their surveillance is managed. With good communication between patient, carer and their heart team, this system will allow patients and clinicians to optimise the use of their time while maintaining high standards of care.”

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