My Smart Home: digital health technology to improve outcomes for people with heart disease

Advances in home-sensing technologies offer new opportunities to support people with heart disease to manage their condition in the comfort of their own home.

Associate Professor Shariful Islam is leading the My Smart Home research program, bringing together innovative engineering methods, artificial intelligence (AI), and a range of digital tools including wearable devices, sensors and smartphone applications to create an integrated, personalised health care model for self-management of heart disease.

The research program, funded through an NHMRC Investigator Grant, has a strong emphasis on collaboration with colleagues across Deakin University, including the Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2) and the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI).

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in Australia. Digital health technologies, including AI, have shown promise in healthcare, but its application in clinical practice is not yet established. Associate Professor Islam aims to fill this gap.

“We are developing mobile phone apps, wearable devices and sensors and combining this with sophisticated AI techniques to allow us to learn behaviour patterns, predict health problems and provide personalised digital support and monitoring for people with heart disease,” Associate Professor Islam said.

My Smart Home includes a suite of integrated measures to enhance early detection of complications and worsening health, provide timely support, and reduce hospital admissions and deaths in people with heart conditions.

Associate Professor Islam’s program of research includes four inter-related studies:

  1. Testing an innovative smartphone application to support healthy lifestyle behaviours;
  2. Investigating the effectiveness of a wearable blood pressure device on blood pressure control;
  3. Co-design and development of a technology-supported smart home program for people with heart failure, and
  4. Examining the effectiveness of the Smart Home program to improve physiological monitoring and health outcomes in people with heart failure.

“My Smart Home will be the first program of its kind to support lifestyle activity, improve blood pressure control, and allow home management for people with heart conditions,” Associate Professor Islam said.

Associate Professor Islam plans to work with clinical partners and collaborators to apply the successful outcomes from his research into clinical practice.

“For example, the wearable blood pressure and lifestyle projects will develop apps and care platforms for clinicians in primary healthcare centres and hospitals. The artificial intelligence algorithms will develop new decision-aid tools and software for clinicians, patients and carers,” he said.

This research program addresses the World Health Organization Global Strategy on Digital Health (2020-2024) and Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy.