In collaboration with scientists at CSIRO, cardiologist Malcolm West is looking to revolutionise the patient follow-up system with a smartphone app that monitors for signs of heart failure.
Every year, 30,000 Queenslanders are hospitalised due to heart disease. If they are lucky enough, they get to return home. However, with the risk of a major complication such as a heart attack, they need to be monitored closely. Often, this involves returning to heart clinics and hospitals regularly for checkups and assessments.
With such a large amount of patients revisiting hospital for clinics as a precaution, waiting lists for appointments can be months. This means some of those most in need of care miss out on important checkups. These waiting lists are not just as a burden hospitals as they grow, but are also a huge risk for patients who may, unknowingly, need urgent attention.
Malcolm and his team have designed home-based heart failure monitoring app that will tell doctors how the patient is tracking. The app will give them an indication of the patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, weight and medication remotely. This will allow them to make an informed decision on whether the patient needs to return for a checkup.
If successful, this project will not only reduce unnecessary visits to clinics, but will help reduce hospital readmissions by alerting medical staff when a patient may be at risk of heart complications. The mobile app will also help to improve the quality of life for 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.