MobileSmith Health and AT&T Team Up to Reduce Surgical Cancellations and Improve Outcomes
// By Jim Samuel //
When patients don’t follow pre-op protocols, it can lead to canceled surgeries, colonoscopies, or other procedures, costing hospitals time and money — and negatively impacting patients’ health. When patients don’t follow their doctors’ post-op orders, they can end up back in the hospital — distressing for patients and costly for hospitals.
AT&T and MobileSmith Health have partnered to develop a new mobile platform — Peri Pathways — that lets hospitals monitor patients as they prepare for surgery. The technology helps patients navigate their pre- and postoperative instructions, resulting in improved outcomes and reduced 30-day readmissions to the hospital.
“Peri Pathways is a mobile platform focused on driving patient adherence,” says Bruce Kennedy, vice president of provider development at MobileSmith Health.
“The goal is to support the intervention and recovery process.”
Rod Cruz, general manager at AT&T Healthcare Solutions, cites research that shows that 17 percent of scheduled medical procedures are canceled because patients did not adhere to pre-op instructions. “Peri Pathways addresses these issues for providers and aligns with the digital health solutions that AT&T offers,” Cruz says.
Randy Tomlin is CEO and chairman of the board for MobileSmith Health. “With two-thirds of our nation’s overall healthcare costs spent in hospitals, most of what’s driving that cost is associated with the care given 30 days prior to surgery and 30 days post-op — not the time spent in surgery,” he says.
Integration with EHR
Peri Pathways works with a hospital’s or provider’s electronic health records (EHR) system to make it easy for surgeons and nurses to send specific pre- or post-op instructions to their patients, then monitor their progress throughout the process, Kennedy says.
Data collected by the Peri Pathways app is loaded directly into the hospital’s EHR workflow and appears in the EHR dashboard. All contact records and notes generated by the Peri Pathways app are loaded into the hospital’s EHR and become part of the patient’s medical record. The system currently works with Cerner and Epic EHRs, and MobileSmith Health is currently working to add integration with other EHR systems.
Kennedy says that by checking the EHR dashboards, a nurse, for example, can “notice that a patient is not adhering days in advance of a procedure. That gives them several options. They can contact the patient. They can contact the surgeon. They can ask the question of whether the procedure should be rescheduled or not.”
More Efficient Pathway for Patients
Peri Pathways creates a more efficient patient journey, Kennedy says. The patient journey starts when the provider assigns a pathway to a specific patient. When it is used in large systems or practices, Peri Pathways enables each patient to receive a specific set of instructions prepared by their physicians.
Different gastroenterologists, for example, may all have their own preferred preparation method for colonoscopy. Peri Pathways lets a nurse assign each doctor’s preferred instructions to their patients. “As patients move through the instructions, the hospital and the doctor can follow their adherence and see how they are doing.”
In addition to pre- and post-op instructions, doctors and nurses can also use Peri Pathways to send patients educational information, checklists, and personalized guides.
“We are dealing with sets of scientifically proven protocols,” Kennedy says. “They are assigned to patients and the providers can monitor and intervene. It makes the system better at gathering information.
Connection to Family Caregivers, Devices
Patients who are unable to use or are uncomfortable with smartphone apps can still take advantage of Peri Pathways by having a family member or caregiver use the app for them, says Kennedy, as long as that person is listed as a HIPAA-compliant caregiver in the hospital’s EHR. “Peri carries over the hospital’s portion of HIPAA,” he says.
Peri Pathways can also connect to smartwatches, wearables, and other healthcare devices patients may use throughout their daily lives, says Kennedy. For example, a patient may be told to walk every day in preparation for an upcoming surgical procedure. A smartwatch or smartphone can track the patient’s walking and transfer that information into the Peri Pathway’s app. From there, exercise information makes its way into the hospital’s EHR system.
Tomlin believes that MobileSmith’s strategic alliance with AT&T opens up new opportunities for hospitals: “Together, we are now poised to truly reshape the way our nation’s healthcare is delivered before and after surgical procedures in thousands of hospitals across our country.”
Jim Samuel is a writer who has extensive experience working in the healthcare industry. He is based in Philadelphia and has worked for some of the nation’s largest healthcare corporations as well as regional health systems. Email him at email@example.com.