Pursuing technology to improve heart failure care for all people in Canada

We have reached the era where innovations will change the way heart failure is managed and treated. Our technologies, developed by patients, clinicians and researchers, will ensure that no matter the distance to a hospital, every person in Canada will feel safe and connected.

Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research Labs
Smiling Nurse Mary at TGH

Co-creation and Ideation with PWLE and Community Partners

When diagnosed, I changed from a person to a patient. Then in a trial, I became a subject. My identity was completely stripped away. Can everybody be an agent in this process?

TRANSFORM HF patient partner

There must be a transformative shift in heart failure research that fosters patient agency. We believe this can be facilitated by increasing the engagement of people with lived experience in all stages of research – from conception to dissemination – in order to find collaborative solutions to equitable care.

That’s why we have built a unique, multidisciplinary ecosystem in which a diverse group of clinicians, scientists, faculty, trainees, and people with lived experience can work together to democratize the research process and co-create in a manner of mutual respect and understanding.

By collaborating with interested and engaged people with lived heart failure experience, TRANSFORM HF is uniquely positioned to drive innovations into clinical practice, improving access to equitable high-quality heart failure care.

Cross-Network Collaboration, Innovation and Learning  

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We encourage, facilitate, and support members of our community working collaboratively across disciplines, career stages, and sectors on research, education, and knowledge translation that aligns with our mission and goals.

We develop and direct capacity-building, networking, and funding activities towards all academic and career levels, ensuring that undergraduate students, senior career researchers, and everyone in between have access to network supports.

To learn about projects TRANSFORM HF has supported, see our Funded Research page.

Digital Health

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Remote Monitoring and Consultation

Today, patients are managed in episodes of care: an appointment with their healthcare provider or urgent hospital trip when new symptoms develop. How do we go from treating patients two-three times a year during episodes of care to continuous monitoring 365 days a year? How do we open a dialogue between a patient and their healthcare team immediately upon worsening symptoms, rather than waiting for a check-up?

The answer: remote monitoring and consultation. Remote monitoring not only reduces unnecessary travel (a particular burden for those in remote communities) and provides peace of mind to patients – it also allows healthcare practitioners to precisely monitor a patient’s status in real-time, thus enabling proactive support before symptoms worsen. Most importantly, it empowers patients in their own care.

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Wearables and Remote Diagnostic Sensors 

A wearable sensor for patients with heart failure is a health monitoring device that seamlessly integrates into someone’s everyday life, helping keep them safe at home. For example, sensors can be embedded in clothing to monitor vital signs related to heart failure. These sensors communicate a patient’s status in real-time to their healthcare team. Wearables and remote diagnostic sensors can come in a variety of forms, such as: 

  • “Smart textiles” (sensors built into fabric, such as socks, patches, or vests) that monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and fluid accumulation
  • Mobile apps that use a probe or camera to measure blood flow below the skin
  • “Lab-on-a-chip” devices that enable lab-quality at-home testing of biomarkers and deliver diagnostics to healthcare providers
  • Technology that syncs with popular consumer devices, such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch

The TRANSFORM HF network designs novel biosensors with consideration for all people living in Canada and explores how such devices may be incorporated into models of care.  

Illustration by Sam Brand

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

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Digital health tools for monitoring heart failure generate immense amounts of data. The TRANSFORM HF network advances data science and novel statistical techniques to filter and process the steady stream of vital sign measurements (blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygenation) for precise analysis at the individual level, as well as to compare all data collected at the population level to guide predictive technologies for the future.

We support projects that develop, validate, implement, or improve AI tools targeted at empowering patients in their own care and equipping healthcare providers with the insights they need to make the best decisions.