HealthDay News — According to a study published in JAMA Surgery, follow-up care delivered via a mobile app can reduce in-person visits for ambulatory patients undergoing breast reconstruction.

Kathleen Armstrong, MD, from the University of Toronto, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial involving ambulatory patients undergoing breast reconstruction. 

Patients were randomized to receive follow-up care via a mobile app or at an in-person visit during the 30 days after surgery (32 and 33 women, respectively).


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The researchers found that women in the mobile app and in-person follow-up care group attended a mean of 0.66 and 1.64 in-person visits, respectively, for a difference of 0.40 times fewer in-person visits (95% confidence interval, 0.24 to 0.66; P<.001). 

Women in the mobile app group sent more emails to their health care professionals during the first 30 days after surgery than patients in the in-person follow-up group (mean, 0.65 versus 0.15; incidence rate ratio, 4.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.55 to 10.99; P=.005).

Three months post-operatively this statistically significant difference was maintained. Higher convenience scores were reported by the mobile app group versus the in-person follow-up care group (incidence rate ratio, 1.39; 95% confidence interval, 1.09 to 1.77; P=.008).

“Patients undergoing ambulatory breast reconstruction can use follow-up care via a mobile app to avert in-person follow-up visits during the first 30 days after the operation,” the authors write.

References

Armstrong KA, et al. “Effect of Home Monitoring via Mobile App on the Number of In-Person Visits Following Ambulatory Surgery: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA Surg. 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0111 [Epub ahead of print]

Sammour T and Hill AG. “Time to Embrace the Digital Age in Health Care.” JAMA Surg. 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0112 [Epub ahead of print]

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