Digital health group Cardihab has partnered with Tasmania’s health department and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, an aeromedical organisation, to roll out its Cardihab app in public hospitals throughout the state. The app will enable patients in Tasmania with heart disease to undergo rehabilitation programmes and receive medical advice at home through weekly phone calls and video consultations.

WHY IT MATTERS

Cardiac disease is the leading cause of death in Tasmania, with its fatality rate higher than the national average by 9.8 deaths per 100,000 people. A study by RFDS researchers also showed that Australians living in rural areas are 1.6 times more susceptible to be hospitalised for coronary heart disease and 1.3 times more likely to die as compared to their counterparts who reside in urban developments. RFDS also released another statement stating that four out of five deaths resulting from premature cardiac disease could be prevented if there were cardiac rehabilitation services available in rural areas.

THE LARGER TREND

COVID-19 has accelerated how healthcare organisations can leverage virtual care to keep people safe during a highly contagious pandemic. Increasingly, healthcare providers have also been coming up with innovative solutions to care for patients in rural areas who may not be able to access health services easily. In the United States for example, Abbott updated its app-based neuromodulation platform with remote programming to enable in-app live video conversations with chronic pain and movement disorder patients, as well as prescribe new settings for their neuromodulation therapies from afar.

ON THE RECORD

"It is an ideal solution for people whose busy lives prohibit them from attending traditional face-to-face clinics, people living in remote areas, patients who are less mobile and throughout COVID-19," said Helen Souris, Chief Executive of Cardihab.

John Kirwan, Chief Executive of RFDS in Tasmania further explained how the use of such rehabilitation programmes would grant greater accessibility and open up more options for “those who would ignore rehab due to barriers of time, cost and distance.”

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