My Patient Pathway – App platform for digital communication with patients

 

By using My Patient Pathway, OUH meets the patients where they are – online, anytime, anywhere – through mobile communication. No more lost paper pamphlets with outdated information – find your information or ask your question to the staff using the free My Patient Pathway app.

“My Patient Pathway” is an app developed at OUH to facilitate digital communication between the hospital departments and patients. The app also helps patients find and keep track of information from the hospital and gives them a better overview and experience in communicating with the hospital.

Since the app was created in 2014, it has become a personal access point for patients involved in a long number of specific treatment processes as well as for patients with chronic conditions. Today, more than 17,000 patients use the app as a support tool in their communication with the hospital – and about 300 new users are added each week!

The app helps patients become more active in their treatment and pro-active in their communication, and many say they feel more involved and have more options for being an active part in the dialogue around their condition and treatment process.  

The purpose of My Patient Pathway has been to give the patients a “digital guide” to help them in the flood of information and decisions they have to consider during their time as a patient, and to improve their overall experience.

 

What does My Patient Pathway offer?

The app My Patient Pathway allows patients to find tailored and validated information from the hospital – in the form of texts, images and videos. A calendar function allows them to see upcoming and previous hospital consultations and the contact section provides specific information about how to reach the department.
Patients can also keep a personal journal of their condition and symptoms, and in some cases they can even send messages and photos to the hospital staff and get an answer – via the app – within a timeframe of e.g. 4 hours (only some departments give this option). In some cases, where the department finds it relevant, the patients can monitor and send information about weight, temperature and blood pressure to the hospital, so they can track the patients’ condition. This is especially relevant for chronic conditions such as hematological patients, kidney patients and patients with conditions of the pituitary gland.

Some departments are also using the app to ask patients to fill out questionnaires and personal information before coming to hospital appointments to save time in the consultation for dialogue with the clinical staff.
A new feature is currently being tested which allows patients to use the app to have video consultations with hospital staff at fixed times, where they would normally have a face-to-face consultation in the department.

 

The hospital staff has access to the app platform through the electronic medical record which they use for all other patient related tasks, and through this integration they can answer messages from patients and view all information from the app. From the My Patient Pathway application in the hospital system they can copy and store information such as messages, measurements etc. in the medical record, so it becomes part of the full patient record.

My Patient Pathway is available for a long number of patients with a broad range of diagnoses as it is up to each hospital department to decide whether they want the app and how they want to use it. Each department can choose from a long list of specifically developed functionalities and decide for themselves which of them they want. Once the department has defined which functions they need, it doesn’t take long to prepare the app and give the staff access to the platform (back-end), so they can add their specific content (text, video, images). Most of the content is usually already available as they have been using it in information leaflets and on a website, but sometimes there is a task in creating more visual elements such as videos and photos instead of texts.

 

Effects of My Patient Pathway 

The app has quickly become a success with both patients and staff. Especially for the patients, the app satisfies their wish to be able to communicate quickly, easily and digitally with the hospital, as they have grown accustomed to with other public authorities in Denmark and other sectors. My Patient Pathway offers a long range of attractive advantages for patients:

  • Safe and confidential collection and storage of own health data (e.g. symptoms and measurements) so patients can contribute actively to their medical record
  • Option of filling out questionnaires and personal information before coming to hospital appointments to save time in the consultation for dialogue with the clinical staff.
  • Safe video conference feature for virtual consultations instead of going to the hospital for control visits
  • Secure sign-on using the national Danish NemID solution for extra security and credibility
  • Content created by health professionals – i.e. it is reliable, concise, relevant and easy to understand
  • Content is adapted to fit the target group and contains both text, illustrations, animations, images, video and audio clips.
  • The chat functions means that the hospital is now available to the patients in a much more flexible way that allows for more dialogue – patients don’t have to bring all questions to the consultations with the healthcare professional but can ask then whenever they want via the app.
  • For the staff, the app has resulted in fewer calls to the departments and thus fewer interruptions as patients are now able to find answers to most of their questions in the app – or use the chat function for the questions which gives the staff time to answer calmly when it suits them, and not when the phone interrupts them.  

 

Background

The first version of My Patient Pathway was developed in 2014, as part of a PhD project support by the South Denmark Growth Forum and the European Regional and Social Fund through the project GameLab4Health.

The idea for the app sprang from an increased wish for a way to support new parents as a newly instated birth plan for the Region of Southern Denmark resulted in parents and child being sent home from the hospital within 4 hours of (uncomplicated) birth. The staff didn’t feel that this gave them enough time to talk to the parents about how to take care of the newborn, breastfeeding etc., and wished that they could communicate with these families after they were discharged.

So the first version of the app was rolled out in the birth ward at Svendborg Sygehus in 2014 with specific information for this patient group, chosen and designed by the hospital staff in the department. Both patients and staff were very satisfied with the app as they felt it gave them a closer relation and a better communication and information level after discharge.
Based on this, the app went through further development with the aim of making it available across the hospital to other patient and staff groups as well.

You can see a short video about the development of the app, which was a part of Dorthe Boe Danbjørg’s PhD study: http://old.cimt.dk/forskning/dorthe-danbjoerg/

 

My Patient Pathway today – status on implementation

Since the first version in 2014 the app has gone through a lot of development and many new functions have been added. Today the team behind the app is seeing an increasing demand for the app from hospital departments at both Odense University Hospital and other hospitals in the region, who feel that the app could give value for their patients and staff. The app is continuously rolled out in more wards – there is currently a short waiting list of departments waiting to get the app.

Now more than 45 hospital wards have implemented the app for over 30 different types of patients, from new parents to prostate cancer to diabetes and arthritis patients – and more than 7000 patients have downloaded the app and used it to find information and/or communicate with the hospitals.

Some departments are also using the app to create a coherent solution for patients, who are in touch with several wards during their process, e.g. patients who are having hip or knee replacement surgery and will be in touch with both the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and the Rehabilitation Department.

During 2016 the app has also found its way to some of the local municipalities, where it is being used to communicate with citizens around health issues. See the full list of areas offering the app at the bottom of this page.

 

How do I get My Patient Pathway?

The app is a free service for hospital patients, delivered by the hospital in collaboration with the local IT company MedWare. My Patient Pathway is available for Apple and Android devices and can also be accessed through a web portal for patients without a smartphone.  

Anyone can download the app and access general information about diagnoses, symptoms, etc., but you need a special access code from the hospital to be able to access your personal health information (e.g. scheduled appointments) and to be able to communicate with the hospital through messaging or video consultations. The hospital department grants access for patients with the relevant diagnoses and informs them about the app during a face-to-face-visit at the hospital.

 

Below you can see where the app is available at the various hospitals in the Region of Southern Denmark:

Odense University Hospital, Odense:

Department of Cardiology: Coronary artery examination

Department of Rheumatology: Arthritis and connective tissues conditions

Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics:

  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer in the abdomen
  • New parents/maternity

Department of ORL – Head & Neck Surgery:

  • Cochlear Implant patients
  • Tracheotomy patients
  • Laryngectomy patients

HC Andersen Children’s Hospital:

  • Arthritis and connective tissues conditions
  • Neonatal tele home care

Department of Dermatology and Allergy Centre:

  • Hereditary angioedema (HAE)

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Jaw and chin surgery

Department of Urology:

  • Cystectomy (Bladder removal)
  • Prostatectomy (Prostate removal)

Department of Endocrinology: Pituitary gland conditions

Department of Rehabilitation: Breast cancer rehabilitation

Department of Gastroenterology: Home parenteral nutrition (HPN)

Department of Haematology: General – all patients in the department

Department of Nephrology: Kidney disease patients

 

OUH Svendborg Hospital:

Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics: New parents/maternity

Department of Neurology: Communication support for aphasia patients

 

Hospital South West Jutland

Mother and child centre: Neonatal tele home care

 

Kolding Sygehus, a part of Lillebaelt Hospital:

Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics:

  • New parents/maternity
  • Pregnancy

Department of General medicine: Diabetes patients

Department of surgery: Colonoscopy

Department of orthopaedic surgery: Hammer toe patients

 

Vejle Hospital, a part of Lillebaelt Hospital:

Department of organ and plastic surgery:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Breast cancer patients
  • Ostomy patients

Department of orthopaedic surgery:

  • Artificial knee surgery
  • Shoulder surgery

Municipalities using the app:

Nyborg Municipality: Preparatory course for first-time parents

 

Contact persons for apps at OUH:

HIMSS Turkey 2014 - Day 1

Christian Tvede
Innovation consultant

(+45) 2423 2498
christian.tvede@rsyd.dk

 

 

Marie-Louise Krogh (4)

Marie-Louise Krogh
Innovation consultant

(+45) 5055 8485

Marie.Louise.Krogh@rsyd.dk

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://old.cimt.dk/ouh-innovative-practices/my-patient-pathway-app/