University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


An app to put your heart at ease

The gadget — A UCPH computer scientist has helped develop an IT system that eliminates the time wasted for cardiologists who would otherwise have had to make repeated calls in vain to heart patients.

Tariq Osman Andersen is a computer scientist, but he has worked for a couple of years with cardiologists and their patients. He continues to do this in parallel to his employment at the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Copenhagen on the ‘SCAUT’ project

Its purpose is to make it easier for doctors and patients to talk about the best treatment for diseases of the heart.

Many of them feel more secure knowing what’s going on, and most people want to know as much as possible. This is what our project helps them with

Tariq Osman Andersen

It is based on a relatively new technology that can help in the treatment of a particular type of heart disease. A heart can suddenly begin to beat quickly due to cardiac rhythm disorders. The heart could be hammering away like a machine gun at 300 heart beats a minute. A cardiac arrest could be just around the corner. What is the patient or doctor supposed to do?

One solution may be to have a kind of advanced pacemaker, known as the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), operated in under the skin in the area between a patient’s shoulder and chest.


37 years, computer scientist, PhD in 2012 from the University of Copenhagen and employed by DIKU (Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen) the same year. Likes to do interdisciplinary work and see different subjects create something new together.

An ICD can both monitor a patient’s heart and send the data wirelessly to the phone network via a monitor box at home – and from there to the heart center. Here doctors and nurses are ready to counsel and treat patients. In addition, an ICD can give the patient’s heart a shock so that the fast and dangerous heartbeats return to normal.

So far so good. But over time, there have been communication challenges, as cardiologists and heart patients need to talk regularly. The problem arises when a heart patient has to have something explained to them concerning the unpleasant things he or she has experienced with their heart condition, but they are not ready at their phone. Cardiologists waste a lot of time making repeated calls to the patients.

Increases patient satisfaction

The solution to the ‘phone challenge’ has been to make an app for the patients’ mobile phones and an IT platform for the cardiologists who can see the patients’ messages along with all the data flowing from the patient’s ICD.

Automatic alarms have also been added to the cardiology unit’s system if a patient’s heart begins to behave abnormally.


SCAUT is supported by the Innovation Fund Denmark, supplemented by two public institutions and two private companies. The public institutions are DIKU (Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen) and the Danish hospital Rigshospitalet. The companies are Rehfeldt Medical, a Copenhagen-based health-care company, and the US company Medtronic, the world’s largest manufacturer of medical equipment. SCAUT is an acronym for: Self-, Collaborative and AUTo-detection of Signs and Symptoms of deterioration.

In this way, the doctor can write to the patient’s mobile phone and the patient can read the doctor’s message at their own convenience. And the other way round. And according to Tariq Osman Andersen, the 55 cardiovascular patients who have been involved in the development of SCAUT have given a positive response to the solution:

“Many of them feel more secure knowing what’s going on and most people want to know as much as possible. This is what our project helps them with,” he says.

It may, however, take some time before more patients will be able to use the system. The health sector is known to be reluctant to introduce changes in IT. So now it is up to Tariq Osman Andersen and the other project staff in SCAUT to demonstrate to the heart centres that the app, and its associated IT systems, both provide greater patient satisfaction and make the heart centres more effective.