Australians with heart failure are set to benefit from innovative technology designed to help them take charge of their condition and reduce their risk of hospitalisation.
In partnership with the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Cardihab has received $740,153 in matched funding from the Australian Government’s Targeted Translation Research Accelerator (TTRA), to codesign a new technology-enabled program to improve the clinical management of people living with heart failure.
Cardihab Chief Executive Officer, Helen Souris, is proud to collaborate on this important solution that aims to help improve health outcomes and quality of life for people living with heart failure.
Heart failure is a condition where the heart isn’t pumping blood to the body as well as it should, meaning muscles and organs don’t receive the oxygen and nutrients as they need. This causes symptoms such as tiredness, dizziness, fluid build-up and shortness of breath, which may result in hospitalisation.
Approximately 511,000 Australians are currently living with heart failure and more than 73,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Cardiomyopathies – or heart muscle diseases – cause approximately half of all heart failure cases, with the remainder due to conditions where the heart is starved of oxygen due to reduced blood supply (ischaemic heart disease).
Following a first hospital admission for heart failure, 75% of people are readmitted within 12 months and 33% die during that period. This is often the result of not adhering to medication or care plans and failing to recognise symptoms that indicate deterioration. Poor health literacy, being elderly, frail, or from a culturally diverse background, all increase this likelihood.
With funding from the TTRA program and the support of partners, Cardihab will develop a digitally enabled HF management program - the SmartHF™ program - to improve the clinical management of people with heart failure in the community. It will provide tailored and individualised support for people living with heart failure and will be designed to address current barriers to effective healthcare delivery.
The project, Getting to the Heart of It: Improving Heart Failure Outcomes with the SmartHF program, will draw on the expertise of collaborating partners including our lead partner the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, and Violet Vines Marshman Centre for Rural Health Research/La Trobe University, Tasmanian Health Service and Northern Health in the codesign of Smart-HF.
Baker Institute cardiologist and cardiovascular researcher, Professor Tom Marwick, sees heart failure patients regularly in his clinics.
He says this innovative program aims to help address the extremely high rates of hospital readmissions and to reduce the likelihood of complications developing which contribute to significant healthcare costs and have an enormous impact on a person’s quality of life.
An expert in digital health technology, Professor Brian Oldenburg from La Trobe University and the Baker Institute says digital technology has the ability to improve healthcare significantly and to make it more accessible and flexible, and it has been pivotal in enhancing care and outcomes for patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Similar to Cardihab’s existing TGA-registered SmartCR™ solution for digital cardiac rehabilitation, this program will be delivered using digital technologies such as mobile apps and a secure clinician portal. This virtual delivery using digital technology has been demonstrated to address the geographical divide by providing accessible support to people in regional and rural communities, who may otherwise not have access to heart failure services.
2 Chen et al. Snapshot of heart failure in Australia. 2017. Melbourne, Australia: Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research.
3 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Heart failure and cardiomyopathy hospitalisations (principal diagnosis), by age and sex, 2018-19. 2021.
4 Robertson et al. The health services burden of heart failure: an analysis using linked population health data-sets. BMC health services research 2012; 12: 1-11.
“Give people what they want, or what they need, and they’re more likely to adhere to the program and get the results they need.” — Cardihab CEO Helen Souris
Cardihab CEO Helen Souris recently spoke to Talking Health Tech about all things Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) and the significant impact it could have on reducing the burden of Cardiovascular Disease on the healthcare system—if only people could get access to a program that would work for their lifestyle.
Cardiovascular Disease costs Australia around a billion dollars every month¹, with over 1.1 million hospitalisations being the main contributor to this cost. Many of these readmissions would be avoidable and would save the country millions² if patients had access to high-quality, evidence-based cardiac rehabilitation which is recognised to improve outcomes.³
Programs such as the digital cardiac rehabilitation program developed and provided by Cardihab allow those patients who—for a broad range of reasons cannot participate in face-to-face programs—the flexibility to participate in a clinically validated and clinician-run program that is individualised to their needs and available on demand at a time and place that suits them is the key.
Currently up to 80%³ of patients who should be participating in CR do not due to reasons including a lack of referral, waitlist bottleneck, distance, travel restrictions, time constraints, social and cultural barriers - the list goes on. These and many other barriers could be overcome with a high-quality digital solution, still delivered by a clinician but available on demand at a time and place that suits them.
While there is recognition that digital is not going to be the solution for all, it's a modality that many patients want and need. Helen highlights that more work needs to be done to ensure it is ingrained and embedded into the way that healthcare is delivered, not perceived as an extra or beyond what usual care is considered to be. Through this shift in delivery mindset statistics can be influenced significantly, and numbers like 80% non-participation rates could be changed.
So the secret sauce to improving CR participation and outcomes we believe is providing options of modalities that fit with the needs of the patient, and this is something Cardihab is working to help deliver.
To learn more about Cardihab or to book a demo or meeting with the Business Development team click here.
- Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. No second chances: controlling risk in cardiovascular disease. Melbourne, Australia: Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute; 2018. https://baker.edu.au/-/media/documents/impact/baker-institute_no-second-chances.pdf
- Heart Foundation, Data and Evaluation Unit. Unpublished report 2015 via Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association
- Home-Based Cardiac Rehabilitation: A Scientific Statement From the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, the American Heart Association, and the American College of Cardiology Randal J. Thomas, Alexis L. Beatty, Theresa M. Beckie, LaPrincess C. Brewer, Todd M. Brown, Daniel E. Forman, Barry A. Franklin, Steven J. Keteyian, Dalane W. Kitzman, Judith G. Regensteiner, Bonnie K. Sanderson and Mary A. Whooley