Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute partners with Story Health on AFib care

Steven Loeb · May 16, 2024 · Short URL:

Story's AFib program integrates with a health system’s clinical team to keep patients engaged

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia; an arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way. Afib causes about 1 in 7 strokes and there are more than 454,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. with AFib as the primary diagnosis each year, while the condition contributes to about 158,000 deaths. Yet, it is still both undertreated and underdiagnosed. 

That's why Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, announced the launch of a new program to support patients living with or at risk of developing AFib on Thursday, built in collaboration with Story Health, a company that uses virtual care and AI technology to bring high acuity cardiac care into the patient's home.

Treatment for AFib can include surgery or medicines to control the heart's rhythm and rate, such as blood-thinners to prevent blood clots from forming while reducing stroke risk. However, there are wide variations and disparities in treatment, often resulting in poor patient outcomes.

To solve for this gap, Story Health’s AFib program integrates with a health system’s clinical team to keep patients on track and actively engaged with their care regimen in between visits and outside of the clinic. It uses a virtual and asynchronous care model, guided by health coaches who assist patients in a variety of ways, including addressing social determinants of health barriers.

Founded in 2020, Story Health works with health systems so that clinicians can introduce Story Health to their patients, either during a visit or virtually between visits. The clinician explains how it works, and the fact that it allows them to optimize their care between clinic visits, after which the patient goes home with a welcome kit including medication organization tools, remote monitoring devices, and a connection to their care team via SMS on their phone.

The company's health coaching team schedules an initial phone call with the patient to walk them through the process and then the patient starts their care plan. They're guided through escalating therapies, taking readings at home, and getting lab work done.

If the patient experiences challenges with symptoms or some other social barrier gets in the way, Story Health's system will help with clinical escalations and/or logistical solutions.

The Heart Institute, part of Saint Luke’s Health System, is a teaching affiliate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. The Institute's specialties include interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, imaging, heart failure, transplant, heart disease prevention, cardiometabolic disease, women’s heart disease, electrophysiology, outcomes research, and health economics.

Story Health’s AFib program includes lifestyle support and risk factor modification, while also monitoring and titrating medications for AFib and comorbidities. It can also identify candidates for procedures such as ablations. The program can also capture and analyze ECG- and AFib-specific symptom data to inform care plan changes integrated into the health system’s EHR.

After the initial implementation across Saint Luke’s, Story Health’s AFib program will begin rolling out to select health system customers in the coming months.

“Our new AFib program embodies our commitment to magnify specialty care by developing innovative solutions that will improve patient outcomes. By providing a comprehensive care platform that includes both compassionate coaches and digital technology, we're empowering clinicians to deliver the level of care they aspire to while also focusing their skills where they are most needed, ultimately providing the best care to the most people,” Tom Stanis, co-founder and CEO of Story Health, said in a statement.  

“Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute is among the top cardiology care providers in the world and has a long history of innovation, making them the perfect partner to co-develop our innovative AFib care approach. Together, we will transform the lives of patients with AFib while reducing the burden in the clinic."

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