UQ Medicine researcher wins Heart Foundation Fellowship

23 Oct 2020

Faculty of Medicine Dr Emma Thomas from the Centre for Online Health (COH), Centre for Health Services Research (CHSR) has been awarded a prestigious two year post-doctoral fellowship from The Heart Foundation.

Dr Thomas’s project aims to better integrate telehealth into cardiac rehabilitation services – effective programs that help people who have suffered a heart event self-manage their condition.

Dr Thomas said while the COVID-19 pandemic had provided a powerful push for clinicians to use alternate models of care such as telehealth, additional support was required to assist in the transition. The idea is not to replace in-person care but to provide patients with options.

“The issue is that only 30 per cent of eligible people attend these programs. There is considerable potential to increase the reach of cardiac rehabilitation, and thereby reduce future cardiovascular events, by embedding telehealth into existing programs,” Dr Thomas said.

“Telehealth-delivered cardiac rehabilitation has been shown to be as safe and effective as in-person delivery and is well-liked by patients. However, this does not always translate into clinical practice.”

Dr Thomas’s research will use a ‘learning health system’ to bring together information from clinical registry data, clinician knowledge, and patient experience.

“Ultimately, the aim is for people who have suffered a heart event to stay well and out of hospital. To do that, we need to provide appropriate support in flexible ways to meet patient needs,” Dr Thomas said.

Read the Heart Foundation media release

View the full list of awardees