Mobile app poised to reshape the Canadian health-care industry

At Women’s College Hospital (WCH) developing new and innovative ways to diagnose, treat and care for patients is always at the forefront.  The newest example is being led by Dr. John Semple, chief of surgery, who is running a pilot project to test a new mobile app.

Developed by QoC Health, a patient health-care-focused technology company, the app allows doctors to monitor post-operative patients once they’ve been discharged from hospital.

As part of the pilot, 60 orthopedic and breast-reconstruction patients were provided with a smartphone or tablet with instructions on how to file daily reports of their recovery.  The patients take photos of their surgical incisions and answer a series of health questions each day. The surgeons then download the responses for a simple and fast method to keep an eye on their patients’ recovery.

“This app allows patients to receive a quick ‘checkup’ from home. I can keep track of their recovery and hopefully prevent complications before their next scheduled visit,” says Dr. Semple. “Our goal is to decrease emergency room visits by catching problems early and treating them before emergency care is needed – before infections become severe or further complications occur.”

When a surgeon logs into the app, it prioritizes patients who are most in need of care by evaluating their responses to the health questions.

The benefits are numerous. For the patients, it delivers enhanced quality of care, decreased infection rates and potentially a reduction in the number of followup visits. Anxiety levels are also reduced because patients know a doctor is checking in on them daily. For the surgeons, it provides an easy way to monitor their patients, ensuring a safe recovery.

“Technology is changing the way the health-care system offers medical care as smartphones are opening the lines of communication between doctors and patients,” adds Dr. Semple. “Our app is a great example of how technology can improve treatment by adding an extra layer of care. Patients can safely recover in the comfort of home while getting the very best care possible.”

For the pilot project Samsung supplied the enabling mobile technology, tablets and smartphones for doctors and patients, and Rogers supplied SIM cards and airtime enabling QoC to provide its revolutionary technology.

“We are very fortunate and grateful for our partners at Women’s College Hospital, Rogers and Samsung,” says Chancellor Crawford, CEO, QoC Health. “Though we developed the platform and technology, we could not apply it without Women’s College Hospital taking a lead role as the demonstration partner.”

And this is just the beginning.

“These types of innovations will change the future of health care,” concludes Dr. Semple. “Technology is capable of saving health care dollars while providing far better patient care.”