Cardiac Rehabilitation Enhanced By Smartphone App Interview with:
Dr Mohanraj K Karunanithi
Research Team Leader | Integrated Mobile Health Systems
The Australian e-Health Research Centre
Digital Productivity and Services Flagship

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Karunanithi:

  • 33% more clients completed the innovative home-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) delivery using smartphone and the internet (Care Assessment Platform CR program) compared with the traditional centre-based cardiac rehabilitation program.
  • Care Assessment Platform-CR  was as effective as tradition CR program in improving physical activity, diet intake, and lowering depression
  • Care Assessment Platform -CR was also effective in reducing weight, and anxiety levels and more importantly, the overall health related quality of life.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Karunanithi: Considering the Care Assessment Platform CR program was a new mode of healthcare delivery using recent advances in communication technologies in the market, such as smartphones and its connection to the internet, we did not expect adherence to be as high as 94%. This was quite impressive for a new way of healthcare delivery.

Despite not providing a prescribed exercise program, like that conducted in the tradition centre-based exercise clinic cardiac rehabilitation program, the Care Assessment Platform CR program was equally effective in improving the physical activity of the participant. This improvement was mediated by the automated pedometer application integrated in the mobile phone and the biofeedback of the physical activity progress provided to the participant via the health diary mobile App.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Karunanithi: For Clinicians, this publication is demonstrates that a comprehensive delivery of cardiac rehabilitation using smartphone and the internet can deliver the same health benefits as that of the centre-based CR program. They also have the potential to individualise the cardiac program and goals according to the patient’s medical condition and needs. Furthermore, healthcare services can provide their clients (based on their suitability) the option of Care Assessment Platform as a CR delivery program who are inaccessible to cardiac rehabilitation services or those who are reluctant to undergo a centre-based CR program.

For patients, Care assessment platform CR provides patient choice of another cardiac rehabilitation program, if they wish not to undertake a group-based centre-based program. By the provision the Care Assessment Platform CR,  they will have a more individualised CR program delivered in their home setting, with similar engagement with a carer as that of the centre-based CR but by a more remote contact through their mobile phone. The Care Assessment Platform CR program would be well suited to clients who are in their working life and want to undertake their cardiac rehabilitation while they return to work.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Karunanithi: Due to the ability of smartphone and internet technologies to reach and deliver care remotely, Care Assessment Platform could be used to deliver cardiac rehabilitation to the under serviced communities such as in the rural and remote regions. Because lifestyle and biomedical risk factor modifications are similar among some of the key chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular and diabetes, and because Care Assessment Platform was used to deliver these risk factor modifications, it is possible for it to be applied to secondary prevention of other disease management.


Smartphone-based home care model improved use of cardiac rehabilitation in postmyocardial infarction patients: results from a randomised controlled trial

Marlien Varnfield, Mohanraj Karunanithi, Chi-Keung Lee, Enone Honeyman, Desre Arnold, Hang Ding, Catherine Smith, Darren L Walters

Heart heartjnl-2014-305783Published Online First: 27 June 2014 doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2014-305783



Last Updated on July 7, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD