Cardiologist Professor Clara Chow is one of the many medical researchers making research waves at Westmead. As Academic Director of the Westmead Applied Research Centre, her focus on digital health research has uncovered innovative ways to promote patient health, long after a patient has left the hospital. With heart disease the leading cause of mortality in Australians, her work is vital to the health and wellbeing of the community.
“We discovered that about a quarter of cardiovascular patients were repeat patients, coming back with subsequent heart attacks,” says Professor Chow. “It became evident that our patients needed ongoing support, education and motivation after leaving the hospital to ensure a better and sustained recovery.”
What began as a simple text message support solution has now evolved into an award-winning program, most recently winning the Google.org AI Impact Challenge which included $1 million towards further evolving customised treatment and support for patients with heart disease.
“By monitoring patient health activity data, we can harness this data for the good of our patients, encouraging them to change behaviours, modify diets or increase activity.”
For an increasingly busy health precinct with a tremendous patient load, it’s an innovative way to ensure healthcare workers are able to effectively and efficiently provide support to their patients.
“While Westmead has always been a busy hospital, it’s now increasingly central to Sydney’s population growth – bringing even more activity through the health precinct,” says Professor Chow.
And it’s not only heart disease that is under the eye of Westmead researchers – there have been groundbreaking research findings in areas as diverse as haematology, infectious diseases and cancer.
“The sense is that there are highly productive researchers based at the campus,” says Professor Chow.