Cardiac app lets patients graph results and email to doctor

A South Australian cardiologist has developed an app that allows patients with heart conditions to track, store and graph key data such as blood pressure, cholesterol, INR and medications and to send it through the app to their doctor.

Called What's Wrong with My Heart, the app has been designed by Alistair Begg of SA Heart, a large cardiology practice in South Australia. It is based on a DVD he helped develop with a cardiology rehab group from Ashford Private Hospital in Adelaide and available through the Heart Foundation.

It contains information about cardiac conditions, procedures and risk factors and provides links to videos clips from the DVD and on Vimeo and Youtube, and also has handy graphing features so patients can keep track of their measurements.

In addition to graphing key data, the app allows patients to create a journal and to assess their response to medication. Data can then be emailed to the cardiologist.

The app costs $4.99 from Google Play, and Dr Begg is currently waiting for an iOS version to be released on Apple's App Store. He has also developed a free app called My Heart that explains technical terms about a range of cardiac conditions, tests and treatments.

Dr Begg said he developed the app having seen a need for people to be able to store information on their phones that they can access quickly and also send to their cardiologist.

“People have been doing this on bits of paper and on computers but the more modern version is to put it on your phone, to be able to email it, and be able to look at it yourself,” he said.

“There's also a need for information when people have a new condition and they can look at that information on their phone and also link to the videos. It ties in with a lot of the other educational things that I've been doing, such as a DVD, a book and a magazine, and my interest in cardiac rehab.”

The app is comprehensive and covers all cardiac conditions, but there is the potential to develop spin-off apps for particular conditions such as atrial fibrillation or hypertension, he said.

“We'd just have to delete a few things and just embellish those apps with a bit more information or a few extra features relating to that condition. I have started with the free app and this one but I plan to run out some more apps. The structure and the framework of the email and graphing was a bit of a hurdle for the developer, but the basics are in there now.”

The idea is for doctors to encourage their patients to send them regular logs of their measurements. Using the same framework, there is also the potential to develop a similar app for conditions such as diabetes, he said.

“Some doctors are more keen on keeping in touch with their patients than others, and I know some diabetes doctors, for example, are always on the phone to their patients and always asking the patients to send them results.

“It can be done with any program but this is an app where they can actually store information on their phone and send it through directly from their app. It is graphable within the app and it is deliverable as well within the app, so it adds a bit more than just keeping it on someone's computer.

“The INRs for example: some doctors like to keep a record of that or the patient has a record. I saw that as a natural progression for my own patients but I'm sure that for the 500 other cardiologists around Australia and around the world could make use of it. I always think that if you can see something that is useful to you with your patients, then chances are that other people will find it useful too.”

He doesn't expect all doctors to adapt quickly to the idea of using apps in association with their patients, but believes younger doctors will want to use it and that there will be increasing demand from patients in the future.

The app is available now from Google Play and should be available shortly from the App Store.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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