McGill University Health Center in Quebec, Canada has partnered with SeamlessMD, a company that has developed an engagement tool for surgery patients, to test the efficacy of a tablet app for enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS).
ERAS is an evidence-based program designed to ensure better care coordination, reduce care time, and reduce complications. It covers best practices related to pain medications, bed rest, and intravenous fluids among others.
The study will be conducted at McGill's Steinberg-Bernstein Centre for Minimally Invasive Surgery and is funded by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES).
Researchers conducting the study aim to identify whether the app will improve adherence to the ERAS care processes and reduce the amount of manual labor that goes into data auditing. SeamlessMD has created apps that help the patient from preoperative preparation to postoperative recovery.
"We are excited to be working with SeamlessMD to use technology to improve patient care," Liane Feldman, principal investigator for the study and director of the Steinberg-Bernstein Centre for Minimally Invasive Surgery, said in a statement. "Currently, the ERAS protocol and audit tool is resource intensive and requires additional personnel. We also wanted new ways to engage patients in their recovery. We have been looking for an innovative solution to help with this."
In the first phase of the study, researchers will conduct a feasibility pilot with a single group. Each patient in the group will receive a tablet with the app preloaded at their bedside in the hospital.
The app will be customized to educate patients about each day’s ERAS milestones and to help them track their adherence to the protocol. The care plan in the app will include education, recovery planning, and a daily self-assessment. The data patients enter into the application will be available to their clinical team. In the second phase of the study, researchers will conduct a randomized control trial.
In February, researchers from Northwestern University launched a study to analyze how monitoring the physical activity of patients who underwent spine surgery, using Fitbit activity trackers, could help them predict the patient’s recovery time.