Calls and Texts Help Atrial Fibrillation Patients Handle Heart Health

February 23, 2021 HMS Newsroom

A new digital outreach program underway at Westmead Hospital could reduce cardiac complications for people with Atrial Fibrillation.

Atrial Fibrillation is a complex condition involving an irregular heart rhythm which  affects two to four per cent of Australians and can lead to stroke and heart failure.

The Westmead Hospital Atrial Fibrillation Support and Outreach Program uses digital tools like automated calls and texts, tailored emails and a personalised web page to help patients get help navigating their condition, driving better health outcomes.

The three-year research program is a collaboration between the Digital Health CRC, US health technology company HMS, University of Sydney’s Westmead Applied Research Centre and Australian software firm MedAdvisor.

The program is powered by HMS’ consumer engagement platform Eliza in the first use of the platform outside the US.

“Atrial fibrillation is a complex condition to manage, and many patients struggle to keep track of multiple visits to their doctors and other healthcare providers and important treatments,” said Professor Clara Chow, cardiologist at Westmead Hospital and Academic Director of the Westmead Applied Research Centre.

“Through this program, we aim to show that we can aid in improving Atrial Fibrillation patients’ health management through the use of technology solutions.”

Patient recruitment began this month through Westmead Hospital's wards and the Westmead Rapid Access cardiology clinic, with more than twenty patients already enrolled.

"We're expecting to recruit over 300 patients diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation  over the next six to nine months," said Professor Tim Shaw, who is Director of Research at Digital Health CRC.

The goal is to guide patients into community general practitioner (GP) practices for care and management and also help patients better understand their treatment plans.

Better self-management could help reduce the risk of Atrial Fibrillation complications, including poor anti-coagulation management, inappropriate emergency department use and increased risk of stroke.

"We are excited to support the launch of leading-edge patient engagement technology to improve the health outcomes of patients suffering Atrial Fibrillation here in Australia,” said Dr. Terry Sweeney CMG, CEO at Digital Health CRC.

“The partnership between HMS, MedAdvisor, the University of Sydney’s Westmead Applied Research Centre and the Digital Health CRC demonstrates how the collaboration between industry, academia and the healthcare sector can generate real and meaningful outcomes for patients and our healthcare professionals.”

The three-year research program will gather self-reported patient health perceptions, and assess barriers to care, and potential for translation to other chronic diseases.

“HMS is dedicated to delivering personalized engagement solutions that help enhance the effectiveness of treatment plans and ultimately improve health outcomes,” said Bill Lucia, chairman and CEO for HMS.

“This outreach program – launched on an international stage – is one of the most complex engagements that we’ve deployed to date and wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration of our partners,” Mr Lucia said.

“Our solutions complement each other nicely and together, we can help improve patient health outcomes and reduce medical complications,” said Robert Read, CEO and managing director for MedAdvisor.

 

About Digital Health CRC
Digital Health CRC is part of the Australian Government’s CRC program which provides competitive and merit-based grant funding to support industry-led collaborative research partnerships. The grant is complemented by cash and in-kind support from industry and research partners.

About HMS
HMS advances healthcare by helping organizations reduce costs and improve health outcomes. Through our industry-leading technology, analytics and engagement solutions, we save billions of dollars annually while helping consumers lead healthier lives. HMS provides a broad range of payment accuracy and population health management solutions that help move the healthcare system forward.

About Westmead Applied Research Centre, University of Sydney

The Westmead Applied Research Centre (WARC) was established by the University of Sydney in collaboration with the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD). Its main goal to conduct clinical and translational research to address the causes of chronic disease, particularly the specific needs and circumstances of patients and consumers in western Sydney.


Media Contacts:

Digital Health CRC:  media@dhcrc.com
HMS:  lacey.hautzinger@hms.com
University of Sydney: emma.charlston@sydney.edu.au

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