2023 End-of-year-message from Cardihab CEO Helen Souris

edm Merry Christmas from the team (4)


As we move towards the end of another year and into the festive season, it’s a great time to reflect on our achievements, the topics that captured our attention, and to take a moment to recharge as we plan for another exciting year ahead. 

2023 was a significant year of growth in terms of the number of people we helped recover from cardiac events Australia wide through our network of pioneering customers and providers.  We have also made significant progress in our strategic initiatives with heartfelt thanks to the tireless effort of our incredible team, our valued Cardihab Providers, and made possible by a number of government and industry grants, as well as the continued support from our investors and shareholders.

The topics that captured our attention included the welcomed push (again) for a change from activity-based funding to outcomes/value-based care, a movement that is building momentum but, in line with the traditional pace of change in healthcare, is moving cautiously and slowly.

While the resounding buzz around the potential for digital health solutions to overcome inequities in care remained throughout 2023, it was abruptly overshadowed by the frenzy of interest in AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT.

The vulnerability of businesses, services, and consumers was exposed when Optus went down, triggering an Australia wide disruption and a critical reassessment of risk management and business continuity measures.

These are just some of the many topics that consumed our thoughts and inspired our reflections on what we needed to do to be resilient and emerge successfully from these testing times. 

As true as it ever was ... we live in interesting times. From the Robert F. Kennedy Day of Affirmation address on June 6, 1966:
“Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind. And everyone here will ultimately be judged - will ultimately judge himself – on the effort he has contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which his ideals and goals have shaped that effort.”  
While the world has transformed in so many ways since the 1960’s, one thing that has not changed is the catalytic potential of an individual who is committed to a better and brighter future. Transforming the health sector through digital health innovation requires leadership, inspiration, shared goals, persistence and team effort.
This year we welcomed Roche Diagnostics, Australian Centre for Heart Health and Heart Support Australia as strategic partners to amplify the impact we deliver for our customers, patients and communities.

There are plenty more exciting projects and enthusiastic partnerships to be announced in the new year and we look forward to sharing future highlights.

In the meantime, on behalf of the team at Cardihab I sincerely wish you and your loved ones a happy, safe and healthy Christmas, and a prosperous new year.

Best wishes,

Helen Souris
Cardihab Chief Executive Officer  

Cardihab helping further support patient care through Heart Support Australia partnership

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Connecting with others who have had a similar experience of surviving a cardiac event or undergoing a procedure, and the shared understanding of what that experience is like can be very powerful and have a profound impact on a person’s recovery and ability to get back to living.  

Cardihab is therefore proud to announce its partnership with Heart Support Australia, a peak advocacy body helping Australians affected by heart disease through peer support.  

Heart Support Australia offers a comprehensive peer support group program designed for patients to participate in following their cardiac rehabilitation program, to help build connections and ensure ongoing care in their communities.  

Heart Support Australia CEO Dr Christian Verdicchio says, "We’re very happy to partner with Cardihab, both to help improve awareness of our services and the key role support services play in recovery from a heart event, as well as to highlight the power of their digital programs in delivering equitable access to Cardiac Rehabilitation across Australia."

The collaboration will help to ensure those needing access to CR are aware of what options are available to them to ensure timely access to quality patient-centred care, and the availability of digital solutions to improve long-term outcomes. 

Cardihab CEO Helen Souris is excited about the association and its potential to help raise the profile of cardiac rehabilitation, and its proven benefits. 

“We know that strong partnerships such as this one can have great impact in helping to generate awareness of the importance of ongoing cardiac care and rehabilitation programs, and the role of digital platforms such as Cardihab in helping patients to do this.  We’re very happy to partner with Heart Support Australia, and look forward to working with them to help them achieve their goals of providing long-term support to people living with cardiac disease.”

Learn more about Heart Support Australia here or contact us to learn more about this collaboration.

Integrated modern day digital solutions are the key to solving age old issues of poor cardiac rehab uptake, completion and preventable hospital readmissions.

Patient David Brown participates in digital cardiac rehabilitation program after second cardiac event.  Photo credit: Sydney Morning Herald.
Patient David Brown participates in digital cardiac rehabilitation program after second cardiac event. Photo credit: Sydney Morning Herald.

The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday shone a spotlight on new research by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, which recognised the importance of integrating digital health solutions into cardiac rehabilitation services to help more people recover from cardiac events and deliver greater impact.

The study sought to understand whether mhealth enabled Disease Management Programs (DMP’s), were effective in reducing readmissions and mortality in patients with heart disease. DMP’s are a framework for providing care for patients with cardiac disease and typically coordinated by nurses in collaboration with health care professionals. They commonly include heart health education; care coordination; exercise prescription; medication management and adherence; self-monitoring strategies; psychosocial support; behaviour change and goal setting.

The published literature review was conducted by researchers at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, and lead by Snr author Assoc Prof Melinda Carrington Head of the Baker Institute’s Pre-Clinical Disease and Prevention unit. The study showed, there were clear and significant benefits regarding cardiac related hospital readmission reductions, all cause readmission reductions and reduced emergency department visits, when digitally enabled options were provided to patients. Equivalent results were observed in mortality and composite endpoints (MACE) for digital modalities compared to traditional models of care which today are perceived as the gold standard.

Assoc Prof Melinda Carrington suggests that while the study does not conclude tradition programs are less effective than digital, the impact lies in the fact that more patients can access and complete digital programs thanks to the flexibility and convenience afforded by the digital delivery format.

The research also highlighted the importance of providing patients with options of cardiac rehab programmes that can be accommodated into busy lives and that patients can commit to. The flexibility, convenience and personalisation which is enabled through technology based solutions has clear benefits, as opposed to the traditionally more fixed structures, time commitments and metropolitan locations of traditional clinic/gym based programs.

“We need to look at more modern day, alternative delivery methods of cardiac rehabilitation to increase access and engagement to improve the quality of life for people with heart disease and to reduce preventable and costly re-admissions to hospital.

“That’s why mobile health-enabled rehabilitation programs should be considered for improving outcomes in people with heart disease, allowing them to choose their preferred program type and setting”, says Assoc Prof Carrington.

Carrington Quote (700 × 200 px)

Mr Brown who‘s personal experience was shared in the SMH article, explained how he benefited recently from Cardihab’s digitally enabled CR program and laments the missed opportunity from 20 years ago, where he received a stent after his first cardiac event, and set on his way home without CR.

Brown in his 80’s, found the six-week program he completed was helpful on a variety of levels. Each day, he entered his blood sugar levels, blood pressure and weight into the app, and was prompted to walk for 15 to 30 minutes.

He was also able to track what medications he was taking and when. “Half the time you can’t remember what you’re taking, and they change the names of medications,” he explains. “With this, I had a full record of all the medication I was taking and the amount. That was very helpful.”

The staggering reality, 20 years on, is that Mr Brown’s experience is still very common. While this time he was fortunate to have access to Cardihab’s digital CR program, the reality for the vast majority of people post cardiac event, is that they miss out.  80% of people who should participate in CR currently do not.

Clinical staff shortages, closures of cardiac rehabilitation services across Australia as a result of COVID measures and low levels of funding for cardiac rehab contribute significantly to the low availability and access to programs for patients who need them.

Rob Newton, a professor of exercise medicine and deputy director of Edith Cowan University’s Exercise Medicine Research Institute was not involved in the study, but was interviewed for the SMH article to comment on the findings.

“It is clear from the research that access is a major barrier to participation in cardiac rehab,” he says. “There is also a nationwide shortage of accredited exercise physiologists or appropriately qualified physiotherapists to assess, deliver and monitor the cardiac rehabilitation.”

For these reasons, he says: “Telehealth delivery of exercise medicine is increasingly demonstrating huge potential to address the chronic disease epidemic facing Australia.”


Read the publication in JACC 'Digital Health Programs to Reduce Readmissions in Coronary Artery Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis' 
Authors: Justin Braver, Thomas H. Marwick, Brian Oldenburg, Ayuba Issaka, and Melinda J. Carrington


Cardihab is the first and only digital therapeutic (DTx) for Cardiac Rehabilitation in Australia. Our clinically validated digital programs are delivered via a smartphone app that connects patients with healthcare professionals and allows patients to progress through their program at the time and place that suits them.

Cardihab is registered with the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) and the only DTx in the world with a regulatory classification. 

Cardihab partners with Australian Centre for Heart Health

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Cardihab is pleased to announce its partnership with the Australian Centre for Heart Health with the goal of supporting the mental health needs of patients who have experienced a cardiac event. The partnership will enable the Centre’s extensive library of clinical resources to be made available to those participating in Cardihab’s virtual cardiac rehabilitation programs.

The Australia Centre for Heart Health is an organisation dedicated to supporting people who have had a cardiac event in their psychological, social and behavioural recovery.

The Centre’s range of evidence-based resources have been developed from its own world-leading research, as well as that of other experts in cardiac-related behavioural and psychological support.

Each year, around 54,000 Australians have a heart attack and up to 75% of survivors experience the ‘cardiac blues’ during recovery, a phenomenon which is characterised by a range of distressing and often debilitating emotional, behavioural and cognitive changes. Typical emotions include anxiety, fear and worry; anger, irritation and frustration; distress, sadness and depression; guilt and denial¹.

Resources developed by the Australian Centre for Heart Health address conditions such as the cardiac blues, as well as other common mental health issues faced by patients, helping to build awareness and provide strategies to develop resilience to overcome these issues.

Cardihab CEO Helen Souris says the partnership was integral to Cardihab’s ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional patient care plans and support.

“The psychosocial impact of a cardiac event is significant but can often be underestimated.   Emotional recovery is as important as physical recovery in ensuring people can effectively return to their lives, and we know the Australian Centre for Heart Health resources will go a long way in helping clinicians and patients to understand and navigate this aspect of the recovery journey”.

Australia Centre for Heart Health Director Prof. Alun Jackson is pleased to be extending their clinical content and expertise to more patients through this partnership.

“It’s a great collaboration to help ensure cardiac patients are receiving high-quality, evidence-based care in terms of mental health resources and support.  We’re pleased to be able to extend our programs through Cardihab’s digital therapeutic platform, to ensure we maximise reach and patient outcomes.”

Learn more about the Australian Centre for Heart Health here or contact us to learn more about this collaboration.

1. The ‘cardiac blues’: A guide for health professionals, The Australian Centre for Heart Health; The Red Flags Project

Pulse+IT enews highlights success of Mater virtual Cardiac Rehabilitation program

North Queensland-based sugar cane farmer Stephen Fabbro uses the Cardihab app for his Cardiac Rehabilitation after Heart Surgery through Mater Private Hospital Townsville
North Queensland-based sugar cane farmer Stephen Fabbro uses the Cardihab app for his Cardiac Rehabilitation after Heart Surgery through Mater Private Hospital Townsville

Pulse+IT enews features Cardihab’s virtual cardiac rehab program being rolled out throughout North Queensland through the Mater Health network.

Rural and remote areas of Australia, and in particular Queensland, are often the hardest hit when it comes to healthcare accessibility and Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) programs which are proven to improve outcomes for those who have had a heart procedure or event are no exception.  Difficulty accessing traditional clinic-based programs due to distance, work or family commitments, or long wait lists keep attendance at CR programs disappointingly low with up to 80% of those who should participate missing out.

“It’s a real area of crisis. There are massive bottlenecks of people who can’t get access, but this [virtual program] works because people can do rehab from home using the app and telehealth,” says Cardihab CEO Helen Souris. 

Ms Souris suggests this should be a nationwide standard of care but more government funding is required.  


Read the full article in Pulse+IT

Digital Cardiac Rehab program making a difference to Mater patients up North

Copy of Digital Cardiac Rehab in North Queensland

Thanks to a partnership between Cardihab and Mater Private Hospital Townsville, Mackay residents like Sharon Nuttall are now enjoying the benefits of Cardihab’s clinically validated digital cardiac rehabilitation program designed to help people who have had a cardiac event or procedure with recovery. 

Prior to the Cardihab program becoming available, participation in Cardiac Rehabilitation in the region was low according to Mater Private Hospital Townsville Exercise Physiologist Shaun Whiley. Mr Whiley worked with the Mater Allied Health team and Cardihab to introduce the program, which has been getting great feedback from participants. 

“Rehabilitation is vitally important, not only because research suggests that those who do not rehabilitate following heart procedures have a higher chance of being rehospitalised, but so these people can return to their normal lives: we are from a region where everyone is very physical and social in work, social and family settings.”

“Our vision was exactly this - to make Cardiac Rehabilitation accessible to everyone, no matter where they are.  Regional and remote Australians are heavily impacted by Cardiovascular Disease but there is a huge gap in access to care in these regions.  Through our partnership with Mater Private Hospital Townsville we are happy to be able to help meet this need for improved access to healthcare” said Cardihab CEO Helen Souris. 

Cardihab is proud to be working alongside the Mater Private Hospital Townsville team to deliver interventions to help patients manage their cardiac health and recovery in ways that work for them. 


Read the full article in the Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Merry Christmas and thank you for your support

Christmas Message Helen - WordPress article (2)

What a year!

It is hard to believe the year end is upon us in what seems like a flash, and how much we have delivered in the tail end of the year as we resume face-to-face life. The general feeling from the people we speak with is that they are tired and in the same breath looking forward to the new year. What is most important is that people are optimistic about the future and focused on taking the necessary time out to re-energise and start the new year brighter and with resolve to have a strong and positive impact in 2023.

Since its inception Cardihab has been paving the way for Digital Cardiac Rehabilitation to become a core part of clinician workflows so that more patients have a better road to recovery post cardiac event and/or procedure.

This year we have celebrated numerous milestone achievements and heard heartening accounts from patients and clinicians who have benefited from our programs. A new publication in JMIR arrived earlier in the year, reinforcing the impact we can have on improving patient uptake, and signaling important insights for hospital readmission rate reductions. New real world evidence was also presented at a range of scientific congresses in Australia and the US, with uptake in local media and publications pending.

We were thrilled to begin our journey in the inaugural ANDHealth+ program, and initiated our collaboration with Queensland Cardiovascular Group’s Atrial Fibrillation Institute. With thanks to funding from the Targeted Translation Research Accelerator (TTRA), we began our journey towards a Heart Failure specific digital therapeutic in partnership with the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.

As we come to the end of 2022 I am both humbled and proud to be part of the Cardihab mission and thankful for the wonderful team of passionate and dedicated people that I work with each and every day. We often reflect on the impact we are making with people that work tirelessly on improving access to cardiac rehabilitation across Australia.

In collaboration with customers, partners, suppliers and through the important support from our investors and grant funding, the opportunities we are creating will not only propel Cardihab’s impact for patients, but elevate the capabilities within the Australian ecosystem to deliver quality digital therapeutics that change the way we manage cardiovascular disease in Australia.

On behalf of the Cardihab team I would like to sincerely thank you all for your support and commitment throughout the year. We wish you a happy and safe Christmas, and an energised and prosperous New Year.


All the best,


Read more about our 2022 highlights on our NEWS page.

Cardihab powered PERCEIVE study into the effects of long COVID gains national attention

The PERCEIVE study—run by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and powered by Cardihab— looks to understand whether COVID-19 causes damage to the heart and impacts functional capacity.  It also aims to understand if best practice management (e.g. heart medication or exercise training) can restore function.

As reported on 9 News, recent outcomes of the study have shown that the significant reduction in capacity following a bout of COVID-19 is likely due to deconditioning, rather than structural heart damage, and therefore exercise rehabilitation is a recommended course of treatment.

While findings to date have provided valuable insights into the long term effects of COVID, researchers are keen to broaden the study and are inviting further participants to join. 

Interested parties who have had COVID-19 and are over the age of 45 are invited to participate in the six month study with screening appointments available at specialist clinics in Melbourne and Hobart, as well as Sydney in the coming months.

Cardihab enables home-based, digital cardiac rehab for remote North Queensland patients

Home Hill famer Stephen Fabbro using Cardihab's Digital Cardiac Rehabilitation App.

Image: Thanks to Mater Private Hospital Townsville
Home Hill famer Stephen Fabbro using Cardihab's Digital Cardiac Rehabilitation App. Image: Thanks to Mater Private Hospital Townsville

Cardihab is proud to be enabling home-based, digital cardiac rehabilitation to remote and regional patients recovering from heart events through our partnership with Mater Private Hospital Townsville.

Mater Clinical Exercise Physiologist Shaun Whiley and Mater Private Hospital Townsville Executive Officer Steph Barwick recently spoke to Channel 7 Townsville about the successful initial uptake of the Cardihab program with patients from North Queensland that otherwise may not have had an opportunity to complete a program.

“So far we’ve had a number of patients complete the program and have said they loved the fact that they were able to do the program, and were given the opportunity.   It can be quite confronting (for patients) going home to a rural area after having gone through a cardiac event and not knowing where to go, what is their exercise capacity, so it's really been fulfilling to get them back to normal function,” said Shaun.

North Queensland-based cane farmer and Mater patient Stephen Fabbro discussed his experience using the Cardihab digital Cardiac Rehabilitation platform in helping him to manage a program post heart surgery that he otherwise would not have been able to do due to time constraints and the long distance to the Townsville-based rehab centre. 

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a significant health problem in rural Australia with rural populations experiencing a 20-30% higher CVD prevalence¹.  Offering effective interventions that suit the needs of the patient helps to bridge the gap in care that exists.  

Cardihab CEO Helen Souris says, "we're thrilled that Cardihab has been integrated into the Mater’s cardiac rehabilitation program and so well received by patients in the area."

Read more at Mater News.


  1. Estimating the Return on Investment of a Randomised Controlled Trial on Telehealth-based Medical Nutrition Intervention in Rural and Regional Australia  - Associate Professor Haitham Tuffaha & Professor Stephen Birch University of Queensland

Local investment gaps and the need for dedicated funding for digital startups

Cardihab CEO Helen Souris recently spoke to Yolanda Redrup, an award-winning senior journalist from The Australian Financial Review to discuss the impact of the Australian investment landscape on digital health startups. They discussed how things need to change in order to strengthen the Australian ecosystem and capital support to compete with other markets.

According to ANDHealth CEO Bronwyn Le Grice, where the US has significant investment funding pools dedicated to accelerating emerging digital organisations and supporting digital growth, Australia’s funding landscape focuses more toward mature organisations with little support for start-ups at the beginning of the journey.  This can lead to organisations moving their ideas and talent offshore to bigger markets that can offer support.

Helen says there is a gap in understanding by local investors that often limits investment, forcing digital health and technology entrepreneurs to look beyond their backyard for scale support.

“There’s lots of seed funding, and seemingly a lot of money for $20 million rounds, but when you’re a start-up that needs to scale up and need to have two to three years of runway to execute to deliver results, that’s where it’s hard.”

She says urgent discussions need to be had around building sustainable investment models that can support and maintain the growth of the Australian digital health ecosystem and nurture innovation to ensure the future viability of Australia’s role in the sector. There is also strong support for government-led policy changes and reimbursement that enable evidence-based digital health innovation to transform our health system.


Read the full article

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