In 2013, Michael Garron Hospital’s chief of surgery Dr. Simone, noted that his patients had difficulties adhering to instructions and staying engaged between visits. Verbal/written instructions are often complicated, overwhelming and difficult for patients to understand. This lack of engagement and adherence can lead to negative outcomes such as readmission and poor patient experience.
Acknowledging this, Dr. Simone collaborated with a startup mobile app called SeamlessMD to pilot a patient engagement solution for thoracic surgery patients. The app supports patients through surgery preparation and recovery with timely reminders, interactive care plans and self-management tools. Rather than patients reading text-heavy papers, information can be accessed on their smartphone, tablet or desktop in a graphic and interactive way.
Each day a patient takes 2 minutes to answer questions about their health such as temperature, pain, and state of surgical wound. This information monitors the patient’s status and can identify early warning signs of surgical complications. Based on the patient’s responses, the app advises them to continue what they’re doing, directs them to a helpful video or tells them to go to the ED. The app can also be accessed by the patient’s family and caregivers, allowing the patient’s support system to be engaged in their progress.
The app has helped reduce the number of missed appointments, intervention cancellations due to non-compliance of pre-op instructions and medically unnecessary visits to the ED and post-op calls. There’ve also been improvements in patient compliance and a reduction in anxiety amongst patients who say they feel more connected to their doctor. Due to its success, other units are discussing using the app.
Title: Chief of Surgery
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