Surgical follow-up? There's an app for that
A mobile app used by patients who underwent ambulatory breast reconstruction required fewer in-person visits during the first 30 days after the operation. Using the app did not affect complication rates or measures of patient-reported satisfaction, according to a study published online by JAMA Surgery.
Looking for cost-effective healthcare delivery models that ensure a high degree of patient satisfaction and convenience is challenging.
John L Semple, MD, of the Women’s College Hospital, University of Toronto, led the trial that randomly assigned 65 women undergoing breast reconstruction to receive follow-up care via a mobile app (49%) or at an in-person visit (51%) during the first 30 days after the operation.
The app used (from QoC Health) allowed patients to submit photographs and answers to a quality-of-recovery questionnaire and a pain scale using a mobile device. Surgeons were able to follow patient reports on a web portal.
The researchers found that patients using the mobile app attended 0.4 times fewer in-person visits for follow-up care and sent more emails to their healthcare professionals during the first 30 days after surgery than patients in the in-person follow-up group. The mobile app group was more likely to agree or strongly agree that their type of follow-up care was convenient. Complication rates and patient satisfaction scores were comparable between the groups.
“These are important findings given the current demands on the healthcare system and the push toward patient-centric care,” the authors wrote.
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