February 08, 2018

UAB partnership further enhancing recovery after surgery

Written by
UAB's Enhanced Recovery After Surgery pathway uses technology to improve patient recovery from major surgery.

seamless webUAB Medicine has partnered with SeamlessMD, becoming the first health system in Alabama to leverage patient engagement technology to improve patients’ recovery from major surgery.

The technology was implemented as a part of UAB’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery initiative, beginning with colorectal surgery. The ERAS program is a patient-centered approach to integrate evidence-based interventions across the entire surgical pathway, leading to better patient satisfaction and health outcomes.

daniel chu 2018Daniel Chu, M.D.After UAB’s first ERAS surgery in 2015, the health system saw improvements in lengths of stay and pain scores for colorectal surgery patients. The initiative won a UAB Health System Innovation Award in 2016, and the positive results have prompted other surgical service lines to begin coordinating their own ERAS pathways. UAB aims to grow the success of its ERAS program through a new partnership.

With SeamlessMD, UAB is now providing a digital experience that guides patients from surgery preparation through recovery. Patients can access the digital application through their mobile phone, tablet or computer, and they receive reminders to help them follow the ERAS care plan. Patients can also access an education library to learn about what to expect from their surgery and the recovery process.

Upon discharge from the hospital, patients can report their pain scores, symptoms and wound photos from their own devices, enabling them to stay connected with the care team.

“While our implementation of ERAS has already delivered promising results, we believe patient engagement technology and collecting patient-reported outcomes are key to achieving even better experiences and outcomes,” said Daniel Chu, M.D., colorectal surgeon.

“The ability to give patients the right information at the right time is an exciting next step for UAB’s ERAS program, where timely patient education is imperative.”

“The ability to give patients the right information at the right time is an exciting next step for UAB’s ERAS program, where timely patient education is imperative,” said Gregory Kennedy, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of UAB’s Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery. “As well, patient engagement is critical during the weeks immediately after surgery, when patients are most vulnerable to complications such as infections.”

In addition to patient engagement and collecting PROs, UAB aims to increase patient compliance with ERAS protocols, which is correlated with faster recovery times. The health system will leverage SeamlessMD to deliver a standardized ERAS pathway, as well as personalized educational resources for each patient based on their unique medical profile — a feat not possible with paper education.

Chu hopes this will ultimately lead to better health outcomes for UAB patients.

“UAB is a highly innovative health system, and we are excited for this opportunity to collaborate with one of the country’s premier health care organizations,” said Joshua Liu, M.D., CEO of SeamlessMD. “We look forward to helping UAB advance its ERAS program, while better engaging patients and improving their health outcomes.”