Socio-economic inequalities in coronary heart disease

There are substantial differences in mortality rates from coronary heart disease between socio-economic groups.  

People living in deprived areas develop coronary heart disease and die at a younger age than their counterparts living in other areas.  In recent decades, significant progress has been made in reducing deaths from coronary heart disease, by lowering the prevalence of certain risk factors, such as smoking, by improving the consistency of disease management, and by introducing new diagnostic, pharmacological, and surgical interventions.  Whilst these improvements have benefitted all socio-economic groups, relative differences in premature cardio-vascular mortality rates have increased.

Addressing this problem is not straightforward.  Part of the challenge for health systems is knowing where to target their efforts. Should it attempt to reduce these inequalities by improving access to preventative interventions, or by improving disease detection, or by improving treatments once a disease has been diagnosed?

Our new tool, developed for and with the British Heart Foundation aims to help Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) with this challenge. In a single chart, ICBs can get an overview of the points on the care pathway where inequalities emerge and are amplified.  The online tool brings information together from many sources and presents it in a novel, intuitive, visual format.  We hope the tool proves useful and welcome feedback on how it can be improved.

Direct link to the tool - click here.  

“Cardiovascular disease is a major driver of deep-rooted yet largely avoidable health inequalities. For the first time, this free and easy-to-use online tool makes it possible to identify exactly where inequities exist along the cardiovascular disease pathway at a local level. This could help focus efforts to address the most significant and urgent gaps between cardiovascular health and wealth, which could ultimately save lives.”

Kate Cheema, Director of Health Insights at the BHF

Our March webinar with the British Heart Foundation demonstrated the tool in action, explained how to navigate the tool, and its intended use, and included a Q&A from participants.