Cardiologist Malcolm West in collaboration with scientists at CSIRO are looking to revolutionise the patient follow-up system with the use of a smartphone app. The project aims to help the 30,000 Queenslanders who are hospitalised annually due to coronary heart disease.
If they’re lucky, these patients currently get to return home, but due to their high chance of a major adverse cardiac event (such as a heart attack or total heart failure) they need to be monitored closely by returning to clinics at the hospital regularly.
With such a large amount of patients every year needing to return to hospital for clinics as a precaution the waiting lists can be months. Without any other option to monitor these patients, some of the sickest miss out on the care they need while clinicians attend to ultimately unnecessary hospital visits. These waiting lists are not just as a burden on the hospital system, but also a huge risk factor for these patients that may need urgent attention.
To alleviate this issue, the project team have designed home-based monitoring system that will tell doctors how the patient is tracking, and give them an indication of the patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, weight and medication remotely, so they can make an informed decision on whether the patient really needs to return for a check-up.
If successful, this project will not only reduce unnecessary visits to the clinic, but will help to stop hospital readmissions and emergency visits. It will also help to improve the quality of life for these patients suffering from heart disease; instead of spending their days waiting for a follow-up appointment and worrying about their condition, they’ll know how they are tracking and be able to spend their time doing the things they love.
Thanks to $2 million in funding through The Common Good, The Prince Charles Hospital will be the first in Queensland to offer this technology to public patients.