When survey and focus group results showed that families of patients at Boston Children's Hospital felt disconnected from health-care providers and, in some cases, couldn't identify their physician, the hospital embarked on a project to develop a mobile app to help keep caregivers and patients in the loop.
The hospital is nearing completion of a successful pilot test of the app, called MyPassport. During the pilot, a group of 30 patients received loaner iPads with the app pre-loaded onto the tablets. Hospital officials are now planning to release a new version that can be downloaded and used on a patient or parent's iPhone or Android device. A recent Boston.com post offers more details about the app:
Among the goals for the app were to provide a "better awareness of tests being done, who their providers are, and what the discharge criteria are" — in other words, what needs to happen in order for them to be released. The app also "helps them organize questions they might have, and get answers before that day's rounds at 3 p.m.," [says Hiep Nguyen, MD, a urologist who lead the development of the app.]
Test results show up not as abstract numbers, but along a spectrum of blue, green, or red. (Red being worrisome.)
The app interfaces with two different electronic medical records systems used at Children's, as well as the hospital's security database, which supplies photos of all of the docs and nurses. The app also includes pictures of the patient and his or her family, which can be helpful as a reference for harried docs trying to keep their patients straight, Nguyen says. The app replaces a binder full of paper that patients ordinarily receive, which is quite labor-intensive to assemble and maintain.
Future plans call for creating versions of the app for non-English speaking patients and their families.