Cardihab and Albury Wodonga Health recently launched a partnership to ensure ongoing access to quality rehabilitation services are made available for those living with chronic diseases in regional New South Wales and Victoria.
Albury Wodonga Health is a cross-border health service providing a comprehensive and growing range of health services throughout the region. Like many communities in regional Australia, issues such as transport and distance create significant barriers to essential services for many Albury Wodonga patients.
After successfully integrating the Cardihab digital cardiac rehabilitation program into their outpatient offering for cardiac patients, the Albury Wodonga Health team are excited to now extend the program to their Health Coordination Team (HCT). The HCT coordinates much-needed services for those suffering from a range of long-term chronic illnesses including complex respiratory conditions, diabetes, and heart failure. Access to a digital program will mean many in the region who may have previously missed out due to lack of access, and who are at a high risk of another hospital admission, will receive the care that they need.
Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is traditionally an exercise, education and support program designed to help guide patients through their recovery after an event or procedure. CR is proven to improve health outcomes and reduce the chance of a hospital readmission within 12 months after a cardiac event by up to 56%. Despite this, up to 80% of eligible patients do not participate in cardiac rehabilitation after they have had an event, with common barriers such as transport, distance and flexibility contributing to poor participation and completion rates.
The Cardihab digital platform provides a high-quality, guideline-aligned and convenient cardiac rehabilitation program designed to overcome many of the common barriers to participation, enabling equitable access to essential healthcare post-cardiac event, regardless of a patient’s location.
Cardihab patient app—SmartCR, provides patients with a personalised care program that addresses their risk factors. The app allows patients to record data such as health measures (eg blood glucose, weight, blood pressure) exercise sessions, symptoms, receive medication reminders, access education modules, and connect with their clinician via telehealth consults. The app connects to a secure clinician portal allowing the care teams involved to review—in real-time—their patient’s health data and progress.
Cardihab CEO Helen Souris says, “we are delighted that Albury Wodonga Health, a significant healthcare provider servicing a large regional area, are using the Cardihab solution to support their communities.
While the health industry has been aware for some time of the potential for digital solutions to make improvements to outcomes—particularly in regional areas where there is significant health inequity—it takes vision, effort, time, and the dedication of people passionate about making a difference to make change happen. We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Albury Wodonga Health team, as we work together to enhance healthcare outcomes throughout the region.”
Cardihab has been selected for a global program from Amazon Web Services (AWS), supporting organisations that are developing solutions to advance health equity.
Cardihab will receive computing credits and technical expertise from Amazon Web Services which will be used to further facilitate its digital cardiac rehabilitation platform. Cardihab's digital programs are designed to help ensure the significant proportion of marginalised patients that should participate in cardiac rehabilitation but cannot due to common barriers—such as lack of transport, time constraints, competing work/life commitments, psychosocial factors etc— will have an alternative pathway to participation.
Through the program, AWS offers AWS credits and customised technical expertise to selected organisations around the world that want to use AWS services to improve health outcomes and health equity in any of the following areas:
1) increasing access to health services for underserved communities;
2) addressing social determinants of health;
3) leveraging data to promote more equitable and inclusive systems of care; and
4) advancing equity in diagnostics and screening
The support from AWS will advance Cardihab’s efforts to deliver more equitable access to care for those at risk of, or living with, cardiovascular disease (CVD).
In addition to delivering a high quality, flexible, guideline aligned cardiac rehabilitation program that can have a critical impact on patient outcomes, the Cardihab solution also establishes a dynamic dataset that includes observations, activity, medication and psychological metrics which are gained throughout the course of a rehab program.
Integration with wearable technology and objective measures entered by clinical staff create a comprehensive set of high-quality data that facilitates an AI supported feedback mechanism to personalise care for optimal outcomes. Data is mapped into FHIR resources for maximum interoperability.
“To be selected to be part of this program is a wonderful testament to the potential of the Cardihab solution to have an impact on how we deliver equitable patient care, and to improve patient outcomes in the future. Our strong data solution is a key component in ensuring robust insights and key metrics are harnessed in an incisive and adaptable way, to help build sustainable care pathways”, said Cardihab CEO Helen Souris.
“AWS believes individual health outcomes should not depend on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or neighbourhood, “said Maggie Carter, Global Lead, Social Impact at AWS. “Cloud technology can be a force multiplier when it comes to addressing the inequities in global health that have been amplified by the pandemic. Through this program, we look forward to helping Cardihab and other organisations worldwide use AWS to advance health equity and improve health outcomes.”
To learn more about the AWS program, visit https://aws.amazon.com/health/health-equity.
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.
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 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.
Roche Diagnostics Australia Pty Ltd and Cardihab Pty Ltd are proud to announce a partnership that is focused on improving quality and standards of care, that deliver better outcomes for people living with cardiovascular conditions in Australia.
Roche sees this partnership as an integral part of their mission to deliver value-based health care along the entire patient journey, from diagnosis, through treatment and monitoring. An optimised care approach for people living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) has the potential to provide an improved care pathway that has been shown to reduce rates of hospital readmission, costs, and the burden of disease on patients quality of life.
Allison Rossiter, Managing Director of Roche Diagnostics Australia said that "We are committed to improving care access and outcomes for cardiac patients across Australia by leveraging our strengths and augmenting our offerings to deliver patient centric integrated solutions. We see Cardihab as a great organisation to collaborate with in realising this vision.”
Cardihab CEO, Helen Souris says: “We are thrilled to partner with Roche, who share our passion for making a difference to the way care is delivered in Australia, and who value collaboration to drive change through innovative approaches. The complementary nature of Roche’s diagnostic portfolio together with Cardihab’s digital therapeutic solutions will accelerate our ability to realise our purpose of providing patients with the care they need in ways that work for them.”
Cardiovascular disease refers to a class of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death and disability in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2019, CVD accounted for 25% of all deaths in the country¹.
Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.
As part of the Roche Group, Roche Diagnostics Australia is a leading healthcare company that is committed to better outcomes for everyone in Australia.
For more information, please visit https://diagnostics.roche.com/au
Read more about our partnership here.
Cardihab was invited to speak on the MTPConnect Podcast, aimed at highlighting organisations in the medical sector with innovative concepts and products. MTPConnect is an independent, not-for-profit organisation formed in 2015 by the Australian Government to champion the continuing growth of Australia's vibrant medical products sector, including medical technologies, biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals.
The topics discussed included Cardihab's success as a participant in the ANDHealth+ program, an acceleration program designed to assist in the commercialisation of evidence-based digital health technologies. Cardihab CEO Helen Souris discussed the benefits of participation in the program, the value of commercialisation support and her tips for digital health innovators thinking of applying. Cardihab was also awarded funding through MTPConnect’s Targeted Translation Research Accelerator for Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease to develop their digital health therapeutic for heart failure. ANDHealth is a TTRA partner and has been supporting Cardihab with mentoring and commercialisation advice.
Cardihab CEO Helen Souris talks to the ABC Radio North Queensland Morning Show about the potential offering a virtual Cardiac Rehabilitation solution to patients in regional and remote Queensland could have on improving health outcomes in those regions.
Cardihab CEO Helen Souris talks to Talking HealthTech's Peter Birch about the power behind a new data analytics program called C.R.O.P.S—Cardiac Rehabilitation Outcomes and Process Synopsis—currently under development by the Cardihab team.
To learn more about the C.R.O.P.S solution please get in contact with our team.
Many Queensland patients will soon have access to Cardihab’s Digital Cardiac Rehabilitation program thanks to grant funding support of $250,000 from the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport and Advance Queensland.
Cardihab’s virtual Cardiac Rehabilitation platform, which is currently being used by Mater Private Hospital Townsville patients, will be further deployed throughout Mater’s extensive Queensland hospital networks to improve efficiencies and address accessibility issues that have long plagued many regions of Australia in relation to critical healthcare needs, in particular Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) treatment and ongoing management.
The funding will go towards the development of the project titled: Delivering Equitable Access Through Digital Health Innovation | Virtual Cardiac Rehabilitation For Queensland Regional And Remote Communities Program. The project will see the Mater Private Hospital Townsville Cardiac Rehabilitation team become the central hub for delivery of the virtual CR program and will service the entire state of Queensland with referrals from Mater Brisbane, Mater Rockhampton, Mater Mackay and Mater Bundaberg.
The Cardihab program enables people from rural and remote communities to recover from cardiac procedures or events from the comfort of home, while receiving quality virtual cardiac rehabilitation care under the guidance of Mater Private Hospital Townsville clinicians.
As a leading cause of morbidity and mortality nationally, and with a rising cost to the Australian healthcare system of over $1 billion per month¹, the urgency to develop efficient and effective care solutions for people living with cardiovascular disease is significant.
Cardiac Rehabilitation programs provide long-term behavioral strategies that are critical to the management of cardiovascular disease. Despite its proven effectiveness, attendance rates are persistently low with only 10-30% of eligible people attending traditional facility-based programs².
With Queensland listed at number 2 on the Heart Foundation national heart disease geographic hotspots ranking, improving access to cardiac rehabilitation is an urgent statewide imperative with regional and rural communities identified as the greatest at need.
Mater Group CEO Peter Steer spoke about their commitment to innovation in providing quality care.
“Mater is at the forefront of the wave of innovation that is changing the way healthcare providers work.
We can now reach and support patients in the most remote parts of our state through new virtual services, providing world class healthcare for all.”
Mater Private Hospital Townsville is the largest private cardiac facility north of Brisbane and will use the Cardihab digital therapeutic solution and apps to provide cardiac rehabilitation to 300 public and private patients across the state over the next 12 months.
Cardihab CEO Helen Souris says, “we are proud to be working with the visionary leaders and healthcare teams at the Mater, who understand the vital need for digitally enabled care, to overcome the challenges of traditional centre-based models, particularly in regional areas.”
“Our virtual care hub will lead the way in enabling digital care to become a scalable and sustainable modality that delivers improvements in access to care and outcomes for patients and communities.
We are grateful to have the support of the Queensland Government and Advance Queensland for this collaboration.”
The initiative is part of the Queensland Government’s commitment of $142 million towards the Advance Queensland Innovation for a Future Economy 2022-2032 roadmap aimed at driving innovation, entrepreneurship and jobs.
1. Assessing the quality of cardiac rehabilitation programs by measuring adherence to the Australian quality indicators. C. M. Astley1*, A. Beleigoli1 , R. Tavella2,3, J. Hendriks1,4, C. Gallagher4 , R. Tirimacco5 , G. Wilson5 , T. Barry5 and R. A. Clark1; March 2021.
2. 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.
Cardihab is one of four successful digital health companies awarded a share of $3.7M from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). The funds are being invested into high-growth potential digital health companies, supporting them to develop and release new products and expand into global markets, through digital health commercialisation program, ANDHealth+.
Funded by the MRFF, the ANDHealth+ program is delivered by ANDHealth, Australia’s leading digital health commercialisation organisation, providing Australia’s most promising digital health start-ups access to up to $3.7M in non-dilutive investment, alongside substantial industry mentoring and support, across a two-stage investment process.
Cardihab, successfully completed a rigorous process of qualification, including assessments by leading Australian and international investors and digital health executives, and has been selected to move into the next stage of the process.
ANDHealth CEO and Managing Director Bronwyn Le Grice said, “These companies are perfect examples of how Australian businesses are using technology to solve real health problems faced by millions of people locally and around the world. This investment will support these companies to secure the clinical evidence and customers they need to create better health and patient outcomes on a global scale."
“Due to the limited funding pools for digital health companies in Australia, ANDHealth+ is a highly competitive program that selects world-class, evidence-based technologies, as assessed by an expert industry panel and international investment committee.”
Ms LeGrice says the exhaustive process is designed to identify the companies and technology with the greatest chance of commercial growth and beneficial effect.
Cardihab CEO Helen Souris says, “to be successful in a program like this is an incredible testament to the quality of our solution, the work of our dedicated team, and the potential of our technology to have a positive impact on patients here in Australia, as well as globally.”
"Cardihab is thrilled to continue to receive funding and advice as part of the ANDHealth+ program. We will leverage this support to prepare our digital therapeutic for international markets and gather additional clinical evidence to further demonstrate our impact on patients needing cardiac rehabilitation."
We look forward to continuing our productive collaboration with ANDHealth and partners during the next phase of the program.
For more information about our programs and opportunities please contact us.