UPMC’s App to Lower Post-Surgery Readmission Rates Is a Pip

UPMC’s App to Lower Post-Surgery Readmission Rates Is a Pip. A patient elevated his right leg which is in a cast uses the UPMC Enterprises and Redesign Health Pip Care Inc. app on his mobile phone for post-surgical coaching.

Last year, UPMC Enterprises and Redesign Health began collaborating on a novel digital health platform that is designed to improve surgical outcomes and increase patient satisfaction.

Pip Care Inc., the first company to be created out of that collaboration, appears to be paying early dividends.

A study recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that Pip Care’s health coaching model reduced the median length of stay for 128 surgical patients by 1.1 days. Moreover, Pip Care patients reduced their risk of readmission to the hospital within a week of discharge by 49% compared with patients who didn’t use the platform.

Pip Care, a personalized surgical journey platform, links patients with a health coach via a smartphone app and helps users as they prepare for and recover from their operations. It can remind patients to do such things before surgery as prepare a first-floor sleeping space before their procedures or to follow post-surgery protocols like smoking cessation or avoiding unhealthy meals. Participants also can receive post-surgery tips on stretching exercises or wound care instructions and more.

Researchers compared 128 Pip Care patients who were scheduled for elective abdominal, spinal or total joint-replacement surgery against 268 peers scheduled for the same procedures at the same hospital who did not use the platform.

Pip Care patients were highly engaged with the program, with 80% attending coaching sessions at least once a week. In follow-up surveys, patients ranked the app 4.8 on a 5-point scale and 4.9 out of 5 for their health coaches.

Physicians have long known that patients are healthier and have better surgical outcomes when they adhere to a perioperative care plan, but ensuring that adherence is easier said than done, notes Aman Mahajan, M.D., Ph.D., Peter and Eva Safar Professor and chair of the department of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

“So, verifying that this hybrid digital telemedicine platform is both easy for patients and clinicians to use and significantly improves patient outcomes and satisfaction with surgery is a welcome clinical advance,” Mahajan says.

AHA Center for Health Innovation logo