PhD scholarship top-up for Kacie Patterson: A smartphone app for sedentary behaviour change in cardiac rehabilitation and the effect on hospital admissions

Project Participants

Status: Completed


One third of all heart attacks in Australia are repeat events. Furthermore, the greatest hospital readmission costs fall within the first year following the initial cardiac event. Secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease through exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation is an intervention with strong scientific evidence for decreasing morbidity and mortality in patients. Sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. However, participants in cardiac rehabilitation are among the majority of Australians who do not meet the Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. The current COVID-19 pandemic highlights the changing and increasing demand for healthcare systems across the world. Research exploring technology-based interventions as contact-free and potentially cost-effective solutions has increased exponentially to aid this crisis. Smartphone applications (apps) appear to be a viable option to meet this demand however there is limited research assessing the effect of individualised smartphone applications that target sedentary behaviour change in cardiac rehabilitation. There are also no studies investigating the impact of an app-based intervention on hospital admissions and repeat cardiac events.

This work will provide insight into the efficacy of such an app in cardiac rehabilitation, provide the perspectives of cardiac rehabilitation participants using the app and assess the economic benefits of the smartphone app intervention to allow for real world translation.

Project Objective

This project aims to:

  1. Explore the use of smartphone apps for changing sedentary behaviours and physical activity in those with diagnosed cardiovascular disease (Systematic Review, Study 1a)
  2. Explore the ‘active ingredients’ of smartphone app interventions that target sedentary behaviour or physical activity as a means of secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (Systematic Review, Study 1b)
  3. Explore whether a sedentary behaviour change smartphone app (Vire app and ToDo-CR online program) is effective at reducing cardiac-related hospital admissions and emergency department visits and a viable recommendation for future healthcare (Randomised Control Trial, Study 2a and Economic Evaluation, Study 2b)
  4. Explore the user experiences and views of cardiac rehabilitation participants using the behavioural smartphone app Vire and sedentary behaviour change program ToDo-CR (Qualitative Study, Study 2c)

Integrity, Excellence,
Teamwork and Authenticity