University of Sydney researchers to use AI to help prevent heart attacks

A digital health program will be developed after researchers from the University of Sydney received AU$1 million from Google.com.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The University of Sydney's Westmead Applied Research has received AU$1 million after winning the Google.org AI Impact Challenge to develop a customised artificial intelligence (AI) digital health program to prevent heart attacks. 

The digital health program will use patients' digital footprints recorded in technologies, such as mobile phone apps and wearable, and combine the data with AI to deliver tailored advice, nudges through text messages, and accurate risk assessments to patients who have been to the hospital with chest pains.

This new customised digital health solution will be delivered as part of the Living Lab strategy at Westmead. 

Clare Chow, who is a cardiologist at Westmead Hospital and the University of Sydney's Westmead Clinical School, said a focus on a scalable prevention program is aimed to reduce the number of attacks. 

"Chest pain is the second most common reason people present to emergency department in Australia and may be an early warning sign -- early identification and monitoring could prevent patients returning to hospital suffering a heart attack but currently this is poorly done," she said.

"AI-driven digital health interventions have the potential to be the game changer -- as the technology would enable patients to be monitored while they go about their daily lives."

In addition to the funding, the research centre will also have access to a mentorship delivered by a 'Googler', which Chow said will "really help us in translating this research into a deliverable program that has the greatest reach".

The AI Impact Challenge was developed when Google unveiled its AI for Social Good initiative last October that aims to steer the company's vast resources and expertise in AI to projects with positive impacts on society. The initiative is a joint effort between Google.org, the company's philanthropic arm, and Google engineers and researchers.

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