A staggering 1.2 million Australian adults are impacted by heart disease each year.
It's our biggest single killer.
Remote and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are the hardest hit, with hospitalisation rates 30% above those of metropolitan areas.
Cardiac specialists and regional health systems are often inundated, increasing the potential for patients to fall through cracks. Fortunately, though, new telehealth technologies are coming to the fore, and HMRI-affiliated clinical researchers like Dr Aaron Sverdlov are among the pioneers.
As Director of Heart Failure with Hunter New England Health and a cardio-oncology researcher with the University of Newcastle and HMRI, Dr Sverdlov manages a large patient base. So large, in fact, he needed an innovative solution to maintain optimum care.
A city-based model of face-to-face home visits clearly wasn’t feasible for the uniquely widespread and diverse district that Dr Sverdlov and his team occupy. That’s why they considered and conceived a ‘virtual hub’ - nurse-led and physician-supported, using telehealth communications.
Within 12 months the telehealth hub was servicing almost 70% of their 300+ patients – a threefold increase. Through heart failure nurse Cameron Robson, the patients were being supported, educated, coordinated, triaged and empowered to look after their own health.
Patients just like Des Pagett. Des had a three-year battle with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer originating in the lymphatic system. After multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and a stem cell transplant from his bone marrow, the battle was won. Unfortunately, victory had come at a cost – progressive heart failure.
Des credits two telehealth calls from Cameron with saving his life.
“If I’d waited for my normal check-ups, I think it would’ve been too late. For sure I wouldn’t be here now, and I can’t speak highly enough of the system, Des explains.”
Heart disease can strike suddenly, as can stroke, asthma, and other illnesses. Your donation today could help our researchers run studies and programs that ease the burden on doctors and improve patients’ lives.