Chronic disease

The ARCH uses multi-disciplinary teams and a person-centred approach to examine chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, obesity and dementia.

Alfred Health ARCH project

Reducing epileptic seizures

Epilepsy affects more than 65 million people worldwide and 250,000 people in Australia. It is a debilitating and chronic neurological condition characterised by recurrent brain seizures. More than one-third of people with epilepsy continue to experience seizures during their life.

This project aims to identify strategies to reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures by using transcranial direct-current brain stimulation as an adjunct to usual care. Transcranial direct-current brain stimulation decreases cortical excitability and facilitates synaptic activity in the brain.

By increasing our understanding of how to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, the aim is to reduce the frequency of seizures, improve quality of life for patients and their caregivers, and reduce the need for frequent hospital readmissions.

Codesigning adaptations for digital health delivery for people with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS)

This project, led by Professor Brian Oldenburg, uses a participatory research approach to codesign and adapt an existing digital cardiac rehabilitation delivery model (Smart-CR).  Partnering with ARCH partners the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and Northern Health, the team are investigating knowledge about health navigation and issues affecting access to programs and services for people with Acute Coronary Syndrome.  Exploring how individual knowledge, functionality, features, and existing technologies (e.g., apps, conversational agents, chatbots, wearable sensors) can be integrated into a digital cardiac rehabilitation delivery model.

Find out more about this research initiative or contact Chris Lynch.

Getting to the heart of it: Improving heart failure outcomes with SmartHF program

This program draws on the expertise of ARCH collaborating partners including our lead partner the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, and La Trobe University to improve the clinical management of people with heart failure in the community.  It will provide tailored and individualised support for people living with heart failure through a digital delivery model (SmartHF) and will be designed to address current barriers to effective healthcare delivery.

Find out more about this research initiative or contact Chris Lynch.

Enhancing Cardiovascular Disease Management with Conversational Agents

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) describe diseases affecting the heart or blood vessels.  The rising number of Australians with CVDs has necessitated new strategies for those managing these conditions, such as digital health interventions.  The effectiveness of digital health interventions in supporting people with CMDs is dependent on the extent to which users engage.

Conversational agents are technologies which interact with people using natural language.  Augmentation of digital health interventions with conversational agents could enhance engagement by imbuing interventions with more human-like attribute and enabling an alternative method for users to interface with digital health interventions.  The project will explore how conversational agents can enable digital health interventions to better support people managing cardiovascular disease.

Find out more about this research initiative by contacting Nick Kashyap.

Northern Health ARCH projects

Non-surgical management of musculoskeletal conditions

Within Australia, the cost of managing chronic conditions, such as osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, is unsustainable. These costs are often related to lack of access to evidence-based, effective treatment options.

This project is identifying and testing non-surgical, non-pharmacological treatment options for people with musculoskeletal conditions; identifying barriers and facilitators to accessing these treatment options for people in the northern community; and implementing best practice treatment options into standard practice.

Early supported discharge model for patients with diabetes-related foot disease

Foot disease including ulcers, infection, and lower limb ischaemia accounts for approximately 5% of hospitalisations in Australia.

There are more than 10,000 admissions each year in Australia for diabetes-related foot disease, with an average hospital stay of 26 days. A 2017 Cochrane review found that, for several conditions, early supported discharge improves patient satisfaction, reduces length of stay and does not increase the risk of 30-day readmissions. However, this review found no research on early supported discharge models for patients with diabetes-related foot disease.

The aim of this project is to identify an optimal model of care of early supported discharge for individuals hospitalised with diabetic foot disease and critical limb ischaemia.