The University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System has expanded its use of a digital application for patients undergoing colorectal, gynecologic oncology, cardiac and thoracic surgeries.
SeamlessMD, a platform for patient engagement, remote monitoring and virtual care, was implemented in 2017 as a part of UAB’s Enhanced Recovery Program, which began with colorectal surgery. The ERP program is a patient-centered approach to integrate evidence-based interventions across the entire surgical pathway, leading to better patient satisfaction and health outcomes.
“Surgery is often a confusing and overwhelming process for patients,” said Daniel Chu, M.D., UAB’s lead for the ERP and associate professor in the Department of Surgery. “Our patients can stay connected on their desktops, laptops and mobile devices with SeamlessMD so they are engaged with the recovery process both before and after surgery.”
With this expansion, UAB now provides a digital experience that guides more 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 ERP 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.
“The many unknowns around surgery can cause a lot of anxiety for patients and their families,” said Haller Smith, M.D., a fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “We can help reduce that anxiety by providing easy access to information through a platform that helps patients prepare for surgery and to know what to expect when they get home. The daily health checks within the app are very helpful as they can either reassure a patient that their recovery is on track, or prompt them to contact their surgical team to flag issues that are outside of the norm, hopefully enabling us to catch any potential complications early.”
Trina Smith, lead certified registered nurse practitioner for the cardiovascular surgery clinic, wants to see how the technology will impact UAB’s cardiac program.
“We need tools to objectively assess how we can provide the highest standard of care,” she said. “Patient-reported outcomes and compliance data collected by the SeamlessMD platform will enable us to pinpoint where we need to focus our attention for quality improvement.”
In addition to patient engagement, UAB aims to increase patient compliance with ERP protocols, which is correlated with faster recovery times. The UAB Health System will leverage the technology to deliver a standardized ERP pathway, as well as personalized educational resources for each patient based on their unique medical profile.
“We are thrilled to partner with UAB to scale the platform across many departments within the UAB Health System, helping more patients and effecting positive change for the industry,” said SeamlessMD CEO Joshua Liu, M.D.