Phone App Helps Patients With Pre-Surgery Preparation and Improves Post-Surgery Outcomes, Research Finds

April 10, 2024
The app studied, called Pip Care, broke down pre- and post-operative instructions and included one-on-one counseling with a health coach

New findings demonstrate that “coupling a smart phone app with a real-life health coach appears to be key to helping patients adhere to pre-surgical preparation and post-surgical recovery guidance and improving surgical outcomes.”

A digital health platform called Pip Care was used by patients whose results were studied in the research, and researchers concluded that those who used the platform “had to stay in the hospital for nearly a day less than their counterparts who didn’t use the app, and they cut in half their risk of readmission within a week of surgery.”

Pip Care is the first digital health platform that specifically pairs “the digital platform with one-on-one telehealth coaches who check in with patients regularly and assist them in care coordination so they can achieve their surgical goals.” Past digital health platforms that use mobile apps delivered mixed results.

Pip Care is meant to “help patients adhere to” protocols that doctors recommend in preparation for elective surgery, which can include “improving their nutrition, physical conditioning, psychological support, and stopping smoking.” The platform specifically simplifies “the doctor’s presurgical instructions into easy-to-understand and complete daily tasks. The health care coach answers questions and keeps the patient accountable. Finally, Pip Care also coaches patients through post-surgical care.”

The research team compared 128 patients enrolled in Pip Care versus 268 patients who were not. All of the patients were scheduled for “elective abdominal, spine, or total joint replacement surgery.” Pip Care patients remained hospitalized post-surgery for an average of 2.4 days, compared to 3.1 days for non-Pip patients. Plus, “Pip Care patients had a 49% lower risk of being readmitted to the hospital within a week of discharge.”

Another promising mark is that patients reported high scores of satisfaction – “4.8 out of 5 points” – with the app after the fact.

UPMC’s website has the news.

About the Author

Matt MacKenzie | Associate Editor

Matt is Associate Editor for Healthcare Purchasing News.