Google drops $1 million for Westmead heart research

Westmead Hospital cardiologist Professor Clara Chow.

Google has awarded $1 million to ground-breaking Westmead precinct research that will radically transform the way heart disease is managed.

The Westmead Applied Research Centre (WARC) led by Professor Clara Chow, has been awarded Australia’s inaugural AI (artificial intelligence) Impact Challenge prize, presented this morning by Google Australia and New Zealand.

Prof Chow is a cardiologist at Westmead Hospital and the University of Sydney’s Westmead Clinical School, as well as the academic director of WARC.

Prof Chow explained her team will use AI to customise treatment for patients with heart disease, the leading cause of death in Australia.

“Our AI project will use existing patients’ history to automatically send customised life-saving information and education directly to their email or smartphone,” Prof Chow said.

“For example, if a patient is showing multiple episodes of high cholesterol, they will receive tailored health information on their device.”

Professor Chow said AI-driven digital health interventions have the potential to be a game changer.

“The technology will enable patients to have their health monitored while they go about their daily lives,” Prof Chow said.

“Early identification and monitoring could prevent patients coming or even returning to hospital suffering a heart attack.”

Professor Clara Chow and her team from the Westmead Applied Research Centre wield their AI Impact Challenge prize. Picture: Google

Google ANZ managing director Melanie Silva said that in addition to the research funding, Google would also provide tech support to the innovative project.

“We believe technology, including AI, can help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges, and we are pleased to support this innovative project using AI to make an impact and improve health outcomes,” she said.

WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy said the grant was proof of the Westmead Precinct’s transition into a global centre of healthcare excellence.

“Westmead is transforming into a major innovation district,” Graeme said.

“Today’s grant is just another example that we are  home to the next generation of leading health and research minds.

“Congratulations to Professor Clara Chow and her team, I look forward to seeing the results from this important work.”

Westmead Research and Education Network director, Professor Stephen Leeder, said AI would transform the way clinicians and patients use data to make treatment decisions.

“I trust this will be the start of a productive, fruitful and even a fun partnership with Google,” he said.

Google will provide programming advice and support but will not have access to patient data and information.

For more information about the Westmead Precinct and its partners, visit