Project Spotlight: Engagement and Behavior modification of patients with Atrial Fibrillation for improved health outcome.
Update provided by Dr Anna Janssen
This month’s Digital Health CRC update is on the project ‘Engagement and Behavior modification of patients with Atrial Fibrillation for improved health outcome’. The project is a collaboration between Industry partners HMS and the University of Sydney. Professor Clara Chow, who is the lead investigator on the project, has kindly agreed to answer some questions about the project to share with the DHIN.
Could you briefly describe the project?
This project (ChatAF) is about whether we can use a digital communication platform with Artificial Intelligence (AI) functionality to support patients in their journey with atrial fibrillation (AF). Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac rhythm disorder. Its prevalence is increasing, it increases stroke risk and it a common cause of hospitalisation. In this project we are custom designing a support program that will be delivered through a combination of digital communications (e.g. voice, text, email) that will review patient symptoms and progress, provide guidance with respect to follow-up visits and provide educational content and links. The goals of this project are to assess preliminary effectiveness as well as feasibility of larger-scale implementation.
What excites you most about working on the project?
I am excited to explore a new approach to supporting people with a chronic health condition. I think it has potential as it is using a variety of ways to interact with patients, but as an investigator part of that excitement is more in the lack of knowing whether it will work or not, and testing it to see whether it could be a viable way of supporting our patients in the future.
What do you see as the key benefits of this project for the University of Sydney?
Through this project the Westmead Applied Research Centre is at the forefront of sustainable and practical healthcare solutions that meet the needs of chronic disease patients in a rapidly changing and challenging environment. Co-designing the CHAT-AF program with both clinicians and patients ensures that we are meeting the everyday and immediate need of patients with atrial fibrillation.
How is working on an industry research project through the DHCRC different than other research projects you’ve been an investigator on?
It is different as working with an industry partner the path to translation seems clearer. If a project is successful you can see how the next steps could be naturally enabled through the partnership. It has different challenges as the research backgrounds of the partners are different, talking about research with an industry partner is different to with a collaborating researcher. You do feel that you are both learning in the process.
What does success look like for you on this project?
Early success looks like being able to co-design a program for patients with atrial fibrillation that meets expectation of patients and clinicians. Overall success would be to see technology used effectively to deliver at scale, customised and responsive support to patients with AF or other chronic diseases.
Thank you very much for participating in this interview, Clara.