Mobile Health Systems

Marlien Varnfield
Team Leader
Mobile Health Systems

Our Mobile Health Systems team collaborates with consumers and service providers to design, develop and evaluate innovative mHealth solutions for supporting well-being, management, and optimisation of care delivery. These include smartphone and Internet-based solutions to support people living with chronic conditions, as well as neurological conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Our Science
Our team has developed digital solutions that include smartphone and Internet-based platforms to support people living with chronic and neurological conditions.

Impact on the Health System
All our research projects have the potential to deliver total health, social and economic benefits to the Australian society. Health challenges such as an aging population and the burden of chronic disease continue to place enormous pressure on Australia’s social and economic resources, and one of the impact statements of CSIRO’s Health and Biosecurity is: ‘development of clinically and economically validated models for tele-enabled health services’. Our research, through inter-Business Unit and external relationships offers unique integrated and coordinated approaches to chronic disease and aged care.

Treatment strategies are used in alignment with existing clinical workflows and care, in compliance with evidence based guidelines, and with commendation from healthcare professionals.

Successful implementation of these proven solutions can be used by the community, health care system and business to address everyday health problems that are challenges nationally and globally, and are having significant impact on human health and health budgets. This not only aligns with the Impacts strategies of H&B (Strategy 2016-2021), but also with the CSIRO strategy 2020 for creating enduring value through technology-enabled innovation.

Our Solutions
Our team has developed a mHealth platform comprising of smartphone, internet and wearable technologies to support self-management for a range of chronic conditions. Applications of the mHealth platform for various conditions are evaluated with our Health Services and Industry collaborators.

Chatbots, or artificial intelligent conversation partners, that run on a smartphone have been designed to support people living with conditions that impact language and communication such as autism spectrum disorder.

New toolboxes using infant movement sensing have been developed, tested and implemented for early detection of Cerebral Palsy in pre-term and term-born infants.

Case Studies

Team Members:

Marlien Varnfield

Christian Redd

Jane Li

Kaley Butten

Vera Buss







Marlien Varnfield
Team leader focusing on the development, delivery and large scale implementation of tele- and mobile health services. Marlien specifically has extensive experience in care models designed to deliver support in the self-management of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes to patients, at home.
CSIRO Profile

Christian Redd
Postdoctoral Fellow, Winner of the Habbit CSIRO Launchcamp pitch competition 2017 .
CSIRO Profile

Jane Li
Senior Experimental Scientist who has explored digital interventions and trials in a variety of areas including home telemonitoring, chronic diseases, orthopedic rehabilitation and operating theatre.
CSIRO Profile

Kaley Butten
Postdoctoral Fellow, in partnership with the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council to explore the use of mHealth for diabetes in pregnancy.

Vera Buss
PhD student focusing on mobile health interventions for health promotion and chronic disease prevention.



  1. Bashi N, Karunanithi M, Fatehi F, Ding H, Walters D. Remote monitoring of patients with heart failure: an overview of systematic reviews. Journal of Medical Internet Research 19 (1), 2017.
  2. Budd M, Rogers R, Soon-Tan K, Hellen G, Varnfield M. PD Buddy: using smartphone technology to improve patient care. Nephrology. 2017.
  3. Celler BG, Sparks R, Nepal S, Alem L, Varnfield M, Li J, Jang-Jaccard J, McBride SJ, Jayasena R. Design of a multi-site multi-state clinical trial of home monitoring of chronic disease in the community in Australia. BMC Public Health, 14(1); 1270, 2014.
  4. Celler B, Alem L, Nepal S, Varnfield M, Spark, R, Li, J.Jayasena, R. (2014). Integrating care for the chronically ill using at home telehealth monitoring. International Journal of Integrated Care, 14(9).
  5. Celler B, Argha A, Varnfield, M, Jayasena R. Patient Adherence to Scheduled Vital Sign Measurements During Home Telemonitoring: Analysis of the Intervention Arm in a Before and After Trial. JMIR Medical Informatics, 6(2), 2018.
  6. Celler B, Varnfield M, Jayasena R. What Have We Learned from the CSIRO National NBN Telehealth Trial? Studies in health technology and informatics, 246, 1-17, 2018.
  7. Celler B, Varnfield M, Nepal S, Sparks R, Li J, Jayasena R. Impact of At-Home Telemonitoring on Health Services Expenditure and Hospital Admissions in Patients With Chronic Conditions: Before and After Control Intervention Analysis… JMIR Medical Informatics, 5(3), 2017.
  8. Chenery HJ, Liddle J, Ireland D, Brauer SG, Theodoros D, Wiles J, McBride S, Karunanithi M, Ding H, Lamont R, Silburn PA. Monitoring the impact of Parkinson’s disease on community life using everyday technology: Development of a remote monitoring platform using smartphones. Movement Disorders 29, S156-S156, 2014.
  9. Ding H, Fatehi F, Russell AW, Karunanithi M, Menon A, Bird D, Gray LC. User Experience of an Innovative Mobile Health Program to Assist in Insulin Dose Adjustment: Outcomes of a Proof-of-Concept Trial. Telemedicine and e-Health, 2017.
  10. Ding H, Jayasena R, Maiorana A, Dowling A, Huey Chen S, Karunanithi M, Layland J, Edwards I. Innovative Telemonitoring Enhanced Care Programme for Chronic Heart Failure (ITEC-CHF) to improve guideline compliance and collaborative care: protocol of a… BMJ open 7 (10), e017550, 2017.
  11. Ding H, Karunanithi M, Fatehi F, Menon A, Bird D, Russell A. User acceptance of an innovative mobile health enhanced delivery of insulin initiation and titration program for patients with type 2 diabetes. Successes and Failures in Telehealth-7th Annual Meeting, 2016.
  12. Ding H, Karunanithi M, Kanagasingam Y, Vignarajan J, Moodley Y. A pilot study of a mobile-phone-based home monitoring system to assist in remote interventions in cases of acute exacerbation of COPD. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 20 (3), 128-134, 2014.
  13. Ding H. Characterization of local complex structures in a recurrence plot to improve nonlinear dynamic discriminant analysis. Physical Review 89, 013313, 2014.
  14. Duncan M, Vandelanotte C, Kolt GS, Rosenkranz RR, Caperchione CM, GeorgeES, Ding H, Hooker C, Karunanithi M, Maeder AJ, Noakes M, Tague R, Taylor P, Viljoen P, Mummery WK. Effectiveness of a web-and mobile phone-based intervention to promote physical activity and healthy eating in middle-aged males: randomized controlled trial of the ManUp Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research 16 (6), 2014.
  15. Gonzalez-Garcia M, Feenstra J, Soderberg S, Varnfield M, Ding H, Fatehi F, Karunanithi M, Yang I. The e-PAH Platform: A Novel Monitoring and Rehabilitation System for Patients with Diagnosed Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), 17th International Conference on Successes and Failures in Telehealth (SFT-17), 2017.
  16. Honeyman E, Ding H, Varnfield M, Karunanithi M. Mobile health applications in cardiac care. Interventional Cardiology 6 (2), 227, 2014.
  17. Huang J, Ding H, McBride S, Ireland D, Karunanithi M. Use of Smartphones to Estimate Carbohydrates in Foods for Diabetes Management. Studies in health technology and informatics 214, 121-127, 2015.
  18. Hussain MS, Li J, Brindal E, Van Kasteren Y, Varnfield M, Reeson A, Berkovsky S, Freyne J. Supporting the Delivery of Total Knee Replacements Care for Both Patients and Their Clinicians With a Mobile App and Web-Based Tool: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Research Protocols 6(3), 2017.
  19. Jayasena R, Celler B, Sparks R, Varnfield M, Li J, Nepal S. Monitoring of Chronic Disease in th e community: Australian Telehealth Study on Organisational Challenges and Economic Impact. International Journal of Integrated Care 16(6), 2016.
  20. Jayasena R, Ding H, Dowling A, Shridhar GK, Richardson D, Maiorana A, Edwards I. Chronic Heart Failure Care Model for home Monitoring of Patients. International Journal of Integrated Care 17 (3) 2017.
  21. Liddle J, Ireland D, Brauer SG, Lamont RM, Mcbride S, Karunanithi M, Ding H, Gustafsson L, Silburn PA, Chenery HJ. Community life with Parkinson’s disease: Developing lifespace-movement and lifespace-quality of life maps to understand participation and outcomes. Movement Disorders 29, 163-164, 2014.
  22. Liddle J, Ireland D, McBride SJ, Brauer SG, Hall LM, Ding H, Karunanithi M, Hodges PW, Theodoros D, Silburn PA, Chenery HJ. Measuring the lifespace of people with Parkinson’s disease using smartphones: proof of principle. JMIR mHealth and uHealth 2 (1), 2014.
  23. Menon A, Fatehi F, Bird D, Ding H, Karunanithi M, Russell A, Gray L. REthinking MOdel of Diabetes care utilising E-heaLth (REMODEL), Successes and Failures in Telehealth-7th Annual Meeting of the Australasian Telehealth Society, 2016.
  24. Short CE, Vandelanotte C, Dixon MW, Rosenkranz R, Caperchione C, Hooker C, Karunanithi M, Kolt GS, Maeder A, Ding H, Taylor P, Duncan MJ. Examining participant engagement in an information technology-based physical activity and nutrition intervention for men: the manup randomized controlled trial. JMIR research protocols 3 (1), 2014.
  25. Sparks R, Celler B, Okugami C, Jayasena R, Varnfield M. Telehealth monitoring of patients in the community. Journal of Intelligent Systems 25 (1), 37-53, 2016.
  26. Van Kasteren Y, Bradford D, Zhang Q, Karunanithi M, Ding H. Understanding Smart Home Sensor Data for Ageing in Place Through Everyday Household Routines: A Mixed Method Case Study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth 5(6),2017.
  27. Varnfield M, Karunanithi M, Ding H, Bird D, Oldenburg B. Telehealth for chronic disease management: Do we need to RE-AIM? Health Technology Information 206, 93-100, 2014.
  28. Varnfield M, Karunanithi M, Lee C-K, Honeyman E, Arnold D, Ding H, Smith C, Walters DL. Smartphone-based home care model improved use of cardiac rehabilitation in postmyocardial infarction patients: results from a randomised controlled trial. Heart, heartjnl-2014-305783, 2014.
  29. Varnfield M, Karunanithi M, Sarela A, Garcia E, Fairfull A, Oldenburg BF, Walters DL. Uptake of a technology-assisted home-care cardiac rehabilitation program. Medical Journal of Australia 194(4) S15, 2011.
  30. Varnfield M, Karunanithi M. Information and communication technology-based cardiac rehabilitation homecare programs. Smart Homecare Technology and Telehealth 3, 69-79, 2015.