Apps can provide more than education and entertainment for the kids. Now, healthcare apps are helping patients and physicians connect in more meaningful ways. A new app created by Carolinas HealthCare System is helping patients considering hernia repair help predict their chances of experiencing chronic pain and discomfort after a hernia operation.
The app, CeQOL, which stands for Carolinas Equation of Quality of Life, is available for free download. It is aimed at men, who comprise the majority of hernia patients.
As reported in Wall Street Journal last month, more than 30% of patients may experience chronic discomfort and pain after hernia surgery. The pain is often linked to surgical mesh and other devices used to repair the hernia, a bulge of the intestine or body fat through a weak area in the abdomen. It can also be a result of internal damage done to the body by the hernia itself before surgery.
B. Todd Heniford, M.D. who designed the app and is chief of the division of gastrointestinal and minimally invasive surgery at Carolinas Medical Center, says the aim of the app is to get both doctors and patients to openly discuss potential risks and complications prior to surgery.
“I like informed patients who come to me with questions, and the app can help us get down to what our patients want out of surgery and what they are afraid of,” Heniford says.
But physicians may often not have such conversations with patients and don’t have detailed data at their fingertips to give patients an idea of what the potential for complications are, he says.
After patients use the app to answer questions about themselves and their hernias, the app generates a percentage chance of having some form of discomfort a year following surgery, based on data from the registry. The app also has extensive information about hernias and surgical procedures.
While the app is only for hernia patients, Dr. Heniford says he hopes more such apps will be developed to help patients make decisions and understand risks and side effects.
“People need this not just for hernia surgery, but for when they preparing for things like taking medicines for heart failure or undergoing chemotherapy,” he says.
To download the hernia app or the Carolinas Health app (with access to ED and Urgent Care wait times) visit: www.carolinashealthcare.org/health-mobile-app.