A Mobile Health Application to Track Patients After Gastrointestinal Surgery: Results from a Pilot Study
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Many surgical readmissions are preventable. Mobile health technology can identify nascent complications and potentially prevent readmission.
We performed a pilot study of a new mobile health application in adults undergoing major abdominal surgery. Patients reported their pain, answered surveys, photographed their wound, were reminded to stay hydrated, and used a Fitbit™ device. Abnormal responses triggered alerts for further evaluation. Patients were followed postoperatively for 30 days and compliance with app use was tracked.
Thirty-one patients participated. Most were female (58%) and white (61%). Six (19%) had an ostomy as part of their surgery. 83.9% of patients completed an app-related task at least 70% of the time and 89% said using the app was easy to use. Patients generated an average of 1.1 alerts. One patient was readmitted and generated seven alerts prior to readmission. Patients participated most in collecting Fitbit data (84.8% of days) and completing a single-item photoaffective meter, but had more difficulty uploading photographs (51.4% completed). Eighty-nine percent of patients found the application easy to use.
A novel mobile health app can track patient recovery from major abdominal surgery, is easy to use, and has potential to improve outcomes. Further studies using the app are planned.
KeywordsmHealth Telemedicine Surgery Readmission Colorectal surgery
The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Victoria Jimenez and Rachel Spayd with data collection.
Compliance with Ethical Standard
This study was funded by the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract and the Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Advanced Digestive Care. MMS and JSA received support from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, NRSA T32-HS000066-23. HLY received su pport from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.
All authors listed above contributed to the conception and design of the work, drafting and critical revision of the manuscript, approved the final version for publication, and agree to accountability for all aspects of the presented work.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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