Mobile App Cuts In-Person Visits After Breast Reconstruction

Number of visits down, increase in e-mails to doctors for ambulatory patients undergoing breast recon


THURSDAY, March 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Follow-up care delivered via a mobile app can reduce in-person visits for ambulatory patients undergoing breast reconstruction, according to a study published online March 22 in JAMA Surgery.

Kathleen A. Armstrong, M.D., 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).

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 percent confidence interval, 0.24 to 0.66; P < 0.001). 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 percent confidence interval, 1.55 to 10.99; P = 0.005). Three months postoperatively 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 percent confidence interval, 1.09 to 1.77; P = 0.008).

"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.

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