Using a Mobile App for Monitoring Post-Operative Quality of Recovery

Using a Mobile App for Monitoring Post-Operative Quality of Recovery

5
SHARE

flying cadeuciiWhile your correspondent is tantalized by the prospect of healthcare consumers using mHealth apps to lower costs, increase quality and improve care, he wanted to better understand their real-world value propositions.

Are app-empowered patients less likely to use the emergency room?

Do they have a higher survival rate?

Do they have higher levels of satisfaction?

In other words, where’s the beef?

That’s when this paper caught my search engine eye. It’s a report on using an app to monitor post-operative patients at home.

This was a “feasibility study” involving a Canadian cohort of home-based post-operative patients who had gone through either reconstructive breast or knee (anterior cruciate repair) surgery. In order to qualify, patients had to be between age 18 years and 75 years, not using tobacco and able to speak English.  Once the app was activated, patient were asked about pain, their recovery and satisfaction (using a 1 to 4 scale).  They also used the app to take pictures of the surgical site.

To maintain confidentiality, there were no patient identifiers linked to any images and a “locked down” subscriber identify module (SIM) was used. Data was encrypted on the server and the device.

Three surgeons participated and were responsible for reviewing their patients’ data on a daily basis.  The app flagged any measure that was unexpectedly out of range for expedited review.

Instruction on use of the app took between 30 and 45 minutes. Patients were loaned a smartphone or a tablet, along with an instructional booklet.  At the end of the 30 day period, the smartphone or tablet had to be returned.

38 breast patients were approached at 33 agreed to participate.  40 orthopedic patients were approached and 32 agreed to participate.

Results?

The mean number of log-ins over the 30 days ranged from 19 to 24, with greater use in the first half of the month. Over 2000 photos were generated. Based on the pain and recovery scales, two early infections were identified and one was treated over the phone with antibiotics with subsequent improvement. On a 1 to 4 scale, the overall level of satisfaction was 2.7 to 3.9.

My take?

It would appear that the science on using apps to address specific outcomes in narrowly defined populations is still in its infancy.  While the Triple-Aim potential of mHealth is high, we’re just beginning to understand how an app would work in the real world, say…. monitoring the outpatient status of recently discharged surgery patients.

That’s why this particular study was interesting. It would appear handhelds or tablets can be used in the post-operative setting, that patient satisfaction is high and that, with symptom monitoring and imaging, an early wound infection can be identified and managed early.

Naturally, it’ll take a study involving a control group to better understand the true value of an app like this.  Based on this feasibility study, your correspondent is looking forward to reading about it in the not too distant future.

Jaan Sidorov is Chief Medical Officer at MedSolis. 

Leave a Reply

5 Comments on "Using a Mobile App for Monitoring Post-Operative Quality of Recovery"


Member
nisharao449
Today 9:11 am

Thanks for sharing the blog! Smartphones have become an integral part of daily life and have shaped the way people interact with the world around them. This societal paradigm shift has certainly impacted the practice of aesthetic surgery, with an increasing number of surgeons incorporating social media into their practices. for more info visit.

https://www.healthasyst.com/healthcare-it-services/software-application-development/

Member
Tasha Bronicka
Sep 22, 2017

Great article – I’d like to recommend one to the list! Great information about healthcare app…
We have our opinion on this topic too https://idapgroup.com/blog/healthcare-mobile-app-development-future-hospital/

Member
Feb 17, 2016

Thank you for this input! It is especially relevant for the new era of value-based care, where healthcare organizations will have to track patients’ outcomes. And mobile applications, due to their personal and even intimate nature, seems to be great tools for acquiring feedbacks from patients after the cycle of care is completed.
However, we should not forget about visual appearance, performance and overall app’s quality. At ScienceSoft we’ve conducted a research and determined 4 must have elements of handy and engaging mobile application. Please enjoy the topic: https://www.scnsoft.com/mobile-medical-application-development

Guest
Bridget
Mar 3, 2015

Im the most interested in who chose not to participate and why. Their reasons my be just as elicudating.