New iPhone app claims to slash hospital readmissions for heart attack patients
A new iPhone app could help to reduce the number of hospital readmissions for patients who have suffered a heart attack, a recent study has found.
As the first cardiology app developed for Apple CareKit, “Corrie” is designed to help patients educate themselves about heart disease, while also walking them through the often-complicated hospital discharge process.
“We have found there are many gaps in care in patients recovering from a heart attack,” said the study’s lead author William Yang MD, a resident in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “We wanted to engage patients in their own care, and help them transition from the hospital to home using existing technology.”
The app does this by centralising and simplifying all the new information a heart attack patient has to take on board. This includes reminders to take medicines, and diarising important follow-up appointments so they aren’t missed. It also suggests a whole host of lifestyle changes a patient can make to prevent another attack.
It does this by syncing with an Apple Watch to check a patient’s heart rate, as well as keeping track of how much exercise they are getting. It also analyses the results from a Bluetooth blood pressure monitor, for a more detailed look at a patient’s health.
The app was tested on 60 patients at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Centre in Baltimore, with each one given an iPhone and Apple Watch for the duration of the study.
They were required to use the app while in the hospital and for 30 days after discharge, with monitoring stopping after this time.
Of the 60 participants, only 3% were readmitted into hospital for any reason within 30 days, compared with 19% of all other heart attack patients at Johns Hopkins.
Not only is this an impressive result for patients, but the caregivers are also benefiting. In America, a hospital doesn’t receive Medicare reimbursements for readmissions within 30 days, and this development alone could save $262,500 (~£187,760) in readmission penalties.
Following the trial’s success, the researchers behind Corrie are continuing to use patient feedback to refine the app, and hope to be able to roll it out to more hospitals soon.
“We think this is a readily scalable program. We’re already working with several other hospitals who are very interested in bringing ‘Corrie’ to their institutions,” said Yang.