New DkIT Research Partnership Empowers Patients with Chronic Illnesses to manage their own care at home

The SMILE project is a research collaboration between NetwellCASALA at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT), Trinity College Dublin and Caredoc and is funded under the Slaintecare Integration Fund.

SMILE combines ProACT technology with clinical triage provided by Caredoc nurses to support older people to self-manage their health and wellbeing at home.

The SMILE project is a research collaboration between NetwellCASALA at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT), Trinity College Dublin and Caredoc and is funded under the Slaintecare Integration Fund. 

SMILE is a new, innovative service to enable Irish citizens to proactively self-manage their health and well-being from home supported by a digital platform and nurse-led remote assessment and triage.  

Currently there are 150 patients registered for this service which has been trailed in the Carlow-Kilkenny health area.  Each participant has two or more conditions including diabetes, COPD, chronic heart failure, and heart disease.  Participants will use a selection of healthcare devices based on their needs to monitor their health and wellbeing.  

SMILE uses the ProACT technology platform, developed by researchers in NetwellCASALA at DkIT and the TCPHI at Trinity College Dublin as part of the Horizon 2020 ProACT project. This platform is used alongside clinical triage provided by nurses in Caredoc to support older people with chronic conditions to self-manage their health and wellbeing at home.  

Through the ProACT CareApp, patients can review their data, set goals and receive education on their conditions and their management. Caredoc triage nurses monitor all this data from patients using a custom designed triage application that is part of the ProACT platform.  This highlights when a patient has an abnormal reading.   The nurses have established escalation protocols to deal with alerts where the data is outside the expected threshold levels, for example, advising a patient to visit their GP. The nurses also provide additional support including educating and motivating patients. 

The project investigators are Dr. Julie Doyle, DkIT, Dr. John Dinsmore, TCD and Michelle Kearns, Caredoc.  

Dr. Julie Doyle, Director of Netwell Casala, DkIT says:  “The results of the SMILE project have been very successful and have demonstrated how the ProACT platform can be utilised by healthcare providers to reduce unscheduled healthcare service use for adults with multiple chronic health conditions.  

Initial research findings indicate that older adults actively engage with digital self-management and the triage service, and experience numerous benefits including improved self-management skills, improved health and wellbeing, more appropriate healthcare utilisation, stabilisation of symptoms over time and greater peace of mind.”