Heart disease has an enormous impact on patients, healthcare and society worldwide. Heart failure is usually the result of a prolonged interplay of physiological characteristics, risk factors and behaviour. Rehabilitation following a heart attack, where patients learn to adapt their lifestyle, is the most important type of intervention there is to speed up recovery and prevent a relapse – and yet less than half of patients take part in programmes of this kind, with many participants prematurely dropping out. In addition, patients often fall back into their old behavioural patterns and habits that played a key role in bringing on heart failure. As such, any gains made through rehabilitation evaporate in the long term.
Rehabilitation currently an overly draining process
Something that may account for the low level of interest in and dropout rate from rehabilitation programmes is that they are very intensive and require patients to make quite a few changes in their daily lives. At the same time, many patients suffer from extreme fatigue and are passive as a result of the traumatic and profound experience they have just had. Artificial Intelligence (AI) may offer a solution in terms of being able to identify behavioural risks more effectively and being able to continually motivate, coach and support patients throughout their journey towards a new healthy lifestyle.
A bespoke solution using AI
The TIMELY project, which is coordinated by the clinical psychologist Jos Bosch of the University of Amsterdam, received a 5.7 million grant from the European Commission to develop an eHealth platform that identifies the risks surrounding the failure and success of cardio rehabilitation and provides heart patients with continuous monitoring and support. To this end, the communication scientist Gert-Jan de Bruijn is leading a central work package, which ensures the development of a chatbot as a digital coach.
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Source: UvA - AI to assist patients recovering from heart failure