Heart failure (HF) is the clinical syndrome where the heart has difficulties to fill or eject blood. HF imposes a significant burden on the Australian healthcare system, consuming around 1-2% of the healthcare budget. Proper management of HF can have a significant improvement on patient’s quality of life. Management of HF can include prevention, early detection, slowing of disease progression and relief of symptoms. While managing HF can be a complex process for patients, by understanding the basic principles they can learn to monitor it and limit symptoms progressing. Physical exercise and diet are two ways patients can help manage their HF.
In partnership with Medibank Better Health Foundation, the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research will conduct the study “You’ve got mail” – testing an SMS-based intervention to increase adherence among heart failure patients. The aim of this study is to examine the feasibility of SMS text messaging to improve adherence in HF self-care behaviours and reduce hospital readmissions. The project takes a social marketing approach to ensure that the intervention engages and empowers these vulnerable consumers; with the materials and protocol developed in consultation with the HF patient participants. The evaluation will consist of quantitative (interviews), qualitative (surveys at three time-points) and process elements (delivery of messages). This study will benefit Australians suffering with HF and inform future technology-based interventions.