MedStar Health Launches New Interactive Heart Risk Calculator in Patient Electronic Health Record | MedStar Health

MedStar Health Launches New Interactive Heart Risk Calculator in Patient Electronic Health Record

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A doctor talks with a patient in the lobby of a hospital.

Columbia, Maryland – MedStar Health has launched a new tool that automatically calculates a patient's risk of having a heart attack or stroke and displays it in their electronic health record with colorful, easy to read, and interactive graphics.

For the first time, patients who visit MedStar Health cardiology, primary care, family medicine, and endocrinology providers will be able to see their individual risk in an easy to understand graphic format in their electronic health record. The calculator draws in data like a patient's blood pressure, cholesterol, history of diabetes and other factors, and computes their 10-year cardiovascular event risk. The tool also displays how their heart risk could improve by making lifestyle changes like losing weight, quitting smoking or reducing cholesterol.

“Seeing their risk on a visual display is more powerful than me telling them their risk,” said Ankit Shah, MD, MPH, director, Sports & Performance Cardiology for the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. “We think this tool, embedded right in the medical record, means that more patients will be made aware of their cardiac status and how making simple changes can reduce their risk. We can now sit next to our patients, share a computer screen and see how a change in cholesterol or blood pressure affects their chances of having a heart attack or stroke.”

The tool streamlines the power of the Million Hearts® risk calculator into a graphic display that’s embedded all in one place.

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“MedStar Health’s heart risk calculator application is a game changer because it gives patients a clear, colorful display of their risk which can be more understandable and more impactful, ” said Dr. Carolina Isabel Valdiviezo, attending cardiologist at the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., “I could use the Million Hearts calculator with my patients, but it was cumbersome going back and forth between the tool and the patient chart.  Since this calculator is now seamlessly integrated into the patient record, it’s easier for us as clinicians and much more likely physicians will use it during their office visits.”

A total of 575 providers at 10 MedStar Health hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers across Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area have access to the tool which comes just in time for American Heart Month and as recent studies show that death rates from cardiovascular disease are rising among people age 45 to 64 in the U.S after many years on the decline.

“As physicians, this calculator adds credibility to the recommendations we make to our patients and allows us to have meaningful conversations about their lifestyle modifications - things like exercise or being more compliant with taking diabetes medications or statins if they’re recommended,” said Dr. Shah.

This project is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology as part of the Leading Edge Acceleration Projects (LEAP) in Health IT cooperative agreement. In November 2018, they named the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare one of two winners of nearly $2 million combined grant funding.

“In our role as researchers and innovators we’re always looking for ways to use technology and design to improve the well-being of both our patients and our clinicians,” said Kristen Miller, DrPH, scientific director at the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare. “We believe this project demonstrates that the EHR can be used as a meaningful tool for patient education and shared decision-making, not just for entering data.”

In the initial months of the launch, MedStar Health’s human factors experts will evaluate the effectiveness of the new application to improve care, processes, and outcomes. In the months ahead, the team hopes to develop educational materials that patients can take home.  Following this launch and optimization period, the application has the potential to be used by other healthcare platforms and providers nationwide.


About MedStar Health

At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and the best of our hearts to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. Our 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through our core SPIRIT values—Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork—across our more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From our telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, we’re committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for our patients. At MedStar Health—It’s how we treat people. Learn more at

About MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare

The MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare occupies a unique position in the United States as the largest human factors program embedded within a healthcare system. It brings together human factors scientists, systems safety engineers, health services researchers, clinicians, and other experts to create a safer and more efficient healthcare environment through four core services in research, usability, safety advisement, and education. The center is part of the MedStar Institute for Innovation and is also affiliated with the MedStar Health Research Institute and MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety. MedStar Health, the parent organization, is the largest not-for-profit healthcare provider in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., region, with 10 hospitals and an extensive ambulatory services network, and is the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University.  

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