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Virtual nurse aims to curb heart attacks

Press AssociationPress Association 16/10/2016 John von Radowitz

A virtual nurse named Cora could save lives by preventing heart attacks, Australian research suggests.

The interactive avatar, on call on smartphones or tablets, provides advice on warning signs and explains what to do in the event of a repeat attack.

Patients who have had a first heart attack are at high risk of experiencing another, which could be fatal.

Helping them to spot symptoms and take the right action could save lives, Cora's developers believe.

"We have found in patient education that cartoon like characters are less intimidating than a video with a doctor in a white coat giving a lecture on what to do," said Professor Robyn Clark, a member of the team from Flinders University in Adelaide.

"Cora is engaging, fun, and gives good feedback. Patients of any age can answer her questions by pressing yes/no on the screen."

A study found that Cora improved the ability of 10 heart attack survivors to recognise symptoms by 24 per cent and their knowledge of what to do by 15 per cent.

Ms Jintana Tongpeth, from Flinders University's School of Nursing and Midwifery, who presented the findings at the Acute Cardiovascular Care 2016 meeting of heart experts in Lisbon, Portugal, said Cora was popular with the patients.

"They enjoyed using it and said it had helped them to be more confident about recognising and managing heart attack symptom in the future," she added.

To make the app suitable for patients around the world, Cora is being given the ability to speak 144 different languages.

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