GCI Health, Itamar focus on heart attack prevention

GCI Health and Itamar Medical kicked off a campaign in New York on Monday to increase awareness of arterial function testing and the importance of early detection in heart-attack prevention.

NEW YORK: GCI Health and Itamar Medical kicked off a campaign in New York on Monday to increase awareness of arterial function testing and the importance of early detection in heart-attack prevention.

The launch location of Don't Ignore Your EndoScore was based on statistics that show New Yorkers are more likely to die of a heart attack compared with others in the US, according to Gilad Glick, CEO of Israel-based medical device company Itamar. Running until the end of this year, the company's first US campaign is targeting heart-attack-prone patients, those who have previously suffered heart attacks, and others who have risk factors.

“We have chosen now to run a campaign in the US, due to the increasing importance of the [Affordable Care Act], along with the importance of prevention, which is what we can bring to the table,” said Glick.  

The effort also allows patients to try Itamar's EndoPAT test in participating New York-based hospitals and medical practices. The EndoPAT received a dedicated reimbursement from the American Medical Association that will go into effect in January 2014, and a voucher program provides a second free test to a family member if a patient takes it in November.

Although the non-invasive procedure is akin to taking a blood-pressure test, the biggest challenge for Itamar and GCI Health will be convincing patients to take it, said Wendy Lund, CEO of GCI Health.

“People may hear about the test, but unless a doctor literally says to them, ‘Go get this test,' they may not do it, because for many patients it is the fear of the outcome and risk that drives them not to do anything at all,” she said. “We have to get people to recognize the reasons why this is an important test and how this is going to save their lives, and we have to change the way people think about heart tests.”

Healthcare specialist firm GCI Health will support the campaign through multiple outreach channels, including New York-based print, broadcast, and digital media, as well as a range of social media activities on Facebook and Twitter. It also launched a blog on the subject this week.

A dedicated campaign website was also set up, providing patients with more information and testing locations.

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