Imperial researchers and clinicians have launched a new smartphone app, MySurgery, to help patients get the best outcome from their surgery.
The app combines simple, jargon-free information about coming in to hospital for an operation with very practical step-by-step advice on the actions that patients and their family can personally take to optimize surgical outcome, safety, recovery and satisfaction.
It was developed by a team of healthcare professionals and patient safety experts at Imperial College London, headed by Professor Ara Darzi, Professor of Surgery at Imperial College London and former UK Health Minister.
In recent months, parts of the NHS have been under particular scrutiny regarding the occurrence of avoidable patient harm and systemic failings in care delivery, such as the issues highlighted at the Mid Staffordshire hospitals.
MySurgery is a new and innovative approach to reducing risk in surgery, which is unique in that it gives the patient and their family a role in making their care safer.
Creator of the app, Dr Stephanie Russ, Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London, came up with the idea for MySurgery as a method for empowering patients to play a more active role with their healthcare team and to help reduce complications and errors resulting from surgical care - a current priority for the NHS.
Dr Russ says: "MySurgery is a user-friendly, animated app that takes patients through the entire surgical journey highlighting the actions they can take to reduce risk according to four categories: Do, Ask, Check and Inform. The app covers everything from preparing for surgery, knowing what to expect, identifying warning signs, providing necessary information and asking the right questions from the professionals."
MySurgery, which is supported by NHS organizations, can be downloaded for free and takes roughly 10 minutes to work through. The app takes users through eleven steps from preparation to going home.
It includes sections on ID, consent, hygiene, deep vein thrombosis and wound care and provides links to further information for patients regarding their hospital, surgeon and procedure. There is also the opportunity to become involved in research to improve the NHS by participating in a survey.
Professor Ara Darzi demonstrated MySurgery at a high profile Apple event for senior members of the NHS. He said: "Having any type of surgery is stressful for patients and their families. This can be made more so when patients do not feel fully informed about the process and are left with unanswered questions. We developed MySurgery to provide patients and families with salient advice and support that, if adhered to, will significantly benefit their outcome."
MySurgery has already been endorsed by key figures within the NHS as a valuable contribution to current efforts focussed on improving the quality and safety of care, which works through empowering the end user and acknowledging the hugely important role they can play in ensuring safe and effective healthcare delivery.