In November 2012, Mayo Clinic completed its pilot of an in-hospital, patient-facing iPad app for helping patients and their families through cardiac surgery, according to a report from consumer health engagement consultant Sherri Dorfman. The pilot of 149 cardiac surgery patients aged 52 to 85, which began in February 2012, made headlines in April last year when Mayo Clinic posted a video about it on YouTube.
The app, called MyCare, is a patient communication app that shows patients and their families a personalized “Plan of Stay,” laying out on a calendar when each part of the prep, surgery, and recovery is due to happen. The app also embeds educational modules through each step of the process. During the surgery, the app is designed to help families follow along and understand what’s happening to the patient. Prior to the pilot, the Mayo Clinic conducted focus groups with surgery patients and their families to determine how best to design the app and the program.
The app also lets the patient report their progress during recovery, telling the doctors how much they’ve walked or eaten each day, for instance. The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. David J. Cook told Dorfman that the app helped to reduce hospital stays for some patients, because the app alerted doctors when patients weren’t meeting recovery expectations, which allowed them to mobilize sooner.
Mayo sent surveys out to track patient and family satisfaction with the surgery experience, and over 90 percent were satisfied with the experience, although without a control group to compare it’s hard to say how much the app contributed. More than 80 percent of patients said they felt very comfortable using the app, despite the age of the population.
Because of security concerns, the app was only used within hospital walls during the pilot. However, Cook told Dorfman that once those concerns are addressed, they hope to design the app to support patients throughout the home phase of their recovery as well. He also said that the app currently supports Fitbit integration to track patients’ movement, and the plan is to integrate with a range of remote monitoring devices.
Mayo also developed a patient app for the iPad in May 2012 which included prescription refills, secure messaging, and a portal for accessing patient information.