Case study from Spotlight series

Supporting self-care in people living with heart failure

27 April, 2020

The European research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 is funding the HeartMan project to design and test a decision support system for management of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).

The programme relies on a sensing wristband and a linked mobile app that transmits data to a web portal accessible by the HF team. The mobile app offers personalised advice on several aspects, for example nutrition and physical activity, based on the data collected from the wristband and personal input. It also delivers cognitive behavioural therapy (personalised messages and mental exercises) to help people modify unhealthy lifestyle behaviours.

Finally, the programme incorporates a machine‑learning algorithm to predict whether people will feel well or unwell each day. Via the web portal, the care team can monitor HF remotely, including each person’s adherence to self-care, medication or exercise plan. The portal also includes a dashboard that combines information from the HeartMan system with personal health records, giving the HF team a comprehensive view of the health status of each person in the programme.

The impact of this programme was tested in a clinical trial in Belgium and Italy, where it was shown to improve self-care behaviours and reduce depression and anxiety. Other outcomes, including ejection fraction and one-year mortality risk, were also improved. People who used the programme for longer, or more intensively, experienced the greatest improvements in clinical and psychological outcomes.


HeartMan Project. HeartMan: Personal decision support system for heart failure management. Jožef Stefan Institute: HeartMan Project

HeartMan Project. 2019. Trial evaluation results. Newsletter: personal decision support system for heart failure management 6 June 2019: 3

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