Jason Hearn (MASc): Improvingthe self-management of heartfailureinlow- andmiddle-income countries using a standalone mobile health intervention

October 4, 2017 @ 9:30 am – 10:00 am
Rosebrugh Building
Rosebrugh Bldg, Toronto, ON M5S 3G9

Room: RS 211


Heart failure (HF), an incurable chronic condition with a median survival rate of 2.1 years, is among the numerous cardiovascular diseases currently burdening low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Given the importance of proper self-care in mitigating the bleak prognosis of HF patients, the use of mobile health (mHealth) applications and Bluetooth-enabled medical devices has recently been investigated as a means of simplifying symptom management, lifestyle behaviors and drug therapy. Although these interventions have led to objective improvements in the self-care efficacy of HF patients living in high-income countries, the prohibitive costs associated with smartphones and smart medical devices hinders the potential for wide-scale deployment of these systems in low-resource settings.

Accordingly, the University Health Network is currently collaborating with the Uganda Heart
Institute, UNICEF and the Yale-based Uganda Initiative for the Integrated Management of Non-Communicable Diseases to tailor a mHealth system specifically to the needs of HF patients and clinicians living in a resource-limited setting. This intervention – which harnesses mobile technology accessible to Ugandans of all socioeconomic classes – will allow patients to report daily symptoms, to receive tailored treatment advice and to connect with local clinicians when showing signs of regression in their health. In improving health education and communication between patients and clinicians, it is hypothesized that the system will debottleneck the currently-overburdened local clinics and improve the self-care efficacy of Ugandan HF patients. By harnessing technologies that are already accessible to the target population, the intervention also presents the long-term possibility of inexpensive deployment and wide-scale adoption.