Advances in digital health intervention are set to change the landscape of healthcare provision with new technologies allowing patients to take control of their health and minimise unnecessary hospital admissions. Two research projects, backed by over $2.2 million in grants from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), will evaluate the feasibility and impact of remote monitoring devices for cancer and cardiac patients.
The first project, led by Dr Ganessan Kichenadasse, aims to assess the benefits of remote symptom monitoring in cancer patients. Around 135,000 Australians undergo anticancer treatment annually, resulting in $3 billion in expenditure. However, up to 90% of patients experience adverse effects, leading to approximately 30,000 hospitalisations per year and costing an estimated $154 million. By allowing patients to digitally report their symptoms, remote monitoring can help identify worsening conditions, enabling timely treatment and reducing hospital admissions.
The second project, led by Professor Anand Ganesan, focuses on remote monitoring technology for patients with pacemakers or defibrillators. Typically, these patients require in-office checks every 6 to 12 months. However, remote monitoring has emerged as a safe and effective alternative, providing doctors with data for accurate diagnosis and treatment. It also allows patients to share important medical information directly with their doctors, enhancing safety and convenience.
“In the past two decades, remote monitoring of these devices has emerged as an alternative method of care for following-up patients, with a series of trials demonstrating the efficacy and safety of remote monitoring compared to in-office,” says Professor Ganesan.
If successful, these research projects could lead to the widespread implementation of remote monitoring, resulting in earlier problem detection, easier treatment, reduced hospitalisations, improved patient health, and lower healthcare costs. The grants from MRFF support the objective of improving the health and well-being of Australians by fostering health and medical research and innovation.