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Sharp HealthCare has its Eye on Improving Cataract Surgery

The Sharp Health Companion app was created for patients and care team members who simply did not want to continue with the status quo. By leveraging CareKit, our app makes it easy to create personalized care experiences from start to finish: pre-surgery care, intervention and post-care. Since cataract surgery is the most commonly performed procedure within our hospitals, we knew we could make an impact.

"We had zero surgery cancellations, zero post-surgery complications and zero readmissions… It’s the kind of care and guidance that all patients deserve for any surgery or procedure they may undertake."

Pre-Surgery:

Pre-surgery instructions are often overwhelming but if they are not followed, surgeries must be cancelled for safety reasons. This results in higher costs and inconveniences for everyone. The Sharp Health Companion App uses the Care Card, which gives patients reminders for required tasks such as as using eye drops, stopping blood thinners, adjusting diabetic medications and receiving medical clearance.

Day of Surgery:

For patients, surgery day is filled with anxiety and stress. To help alleviate some of this anxiety, the app gives reminders for avoiding breakfast for anesthesia safety, selecting comfortable clothing as well as providing directions to the hospital on Apple Maps. There are also educational videos so patients know what to expect on surgery day to ensure there are no surprises.

Post-Surgery:

Once surgery is finished, the app experience changes to help manage post-surgery care. This is important because patients often have too much on their mind to remember the counseling they receive after surgery. Medication compliance can be as low as 30% in routine recovery so the app offers reminders, tutorial videos and even a timer to help patients use their eye drops. After surgery, patients can monitor their pain and eyesight by taking an eye test and even send photos of their eye securely to their care team if they are experiencing extreme pain. Any health data generated is securely transferred to the Apple Health app and can be shared if authorized by the patient. Most importantly, patients can stay connected to their care teams through the Connect tab and learn about any changes to their treatment plan through notifications. Care teams can also trend adherence and eye health during recovery which results in improved outcomes, fewer complications and better eyesight!


Pre-Surgery Reminder

Day of Surgery Checklist

Post-Surgery Eye Test

Connect with Care Team

Pilot App Experience and Observations:

In our initial pilot, the 32 cataract surgery patients (median age 69 years, ranging from 25 to 85 years) achieved an average of 78.2% medication adherence during recovery. We had zero surgery cancellations, zero post-surgery complications, and zero readmissions.

Patient feedback has been tremendous.

  • 90% felt the app helped them to understand the post-surgery instructions better.
  • 93% believed the app improved their overall surgery experience and
  • 97% would use the app if available in other surgeries or medical procedures.

Patients love having assistance from the app and said it’s like having a nurse or doctor right in the palm of your hand to guide you from start to finish. Care team members love the app too because it reduces friction points. It’s the kind of care and guidance that all patients deserve for any surgery or procedure they may undertake.

For more information about the Sharp Health Companion app, please contact our team at oppeye@sharp.com.

- The Sharp Health Companion App Team at Sharp HealthCare

Boston Children’s Hospital and Duke Health Leverage CareKit to Help Patients Navigate Their Health with Caremap

Families of children with complex medical conditions navigate large health systems, visit many clinical providers and are tasked with tracking multiple aspects of their care, including symptoms, medications, nutritional intake and other physiologic and psychological factors related to their health. Boston Children’s Hospital recognized that this can be challenging for families to manage and collaborated with Duke Health to create the Caremap app (available for free on the Apple App Store) for families to organize and track their child’s healthcare. Adult patients can also use Caremap as their own personal health tool.

The Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator team at Boston Children’s leveraged Apple’s CareKit and ResearchKit frameworks to create an iOS app that families can use to securely record a snapshot of their child’s health record, identify care items they want to monitor, and share relevant details with their care providers and care givers.

The MyHealth feature in the app enables patients to capture details about their health conditions such as allergies, details about medical equipment they may be using, store emergency care instructions, and record major medical history events including procedures and hospitalizations. Data generated by patients and families is stored securely on the device. Future updates will leverage the open FHIR interoperability standard to enable patients of Boston Children’s and Duke Health to connect to their patient portal with Cerner and Epic, respectively. This readily accessible snapshot of a person’s health can be shared in emergencies by a patient with new doctors or caregivers.

Caremap leverages most of the core modules from CareKit. Using the Symptom Tracker and Care Card modules, the app provides a pre-configured set of care items that patients track including sleep, mood, pain, nutrition, and bathroom activities. Additionally, patients can create custom care items to monitor like school attendance or temper tantrums, allowing for individualized data and insights to be gleaned. HealthKit is integrated to capture data from connected health devices like weighing scales. The activities and assessments tracked are then available via Insights charts and graphs. These insights can be shared with the clinical team to provide clinical decision support and ultimately better care for patients.

Utilizing CareKit’s Connect module, Caremap users can simply add their most relevant clinical and personal contacts reducing the need to hold on to business cards and scraps of paper with physician names and phone numbers. Through Connect, they can easily share the information within the app as a PDF via text message, email, or printed copy to carry into appointments. Caremap also leverages Apple’s ResearchKit for some of the assessments, authentication, and graphing components.

The goal of Caremap is to organize the immense amount of information stored by families of children with complex medical needs, and provide additional resources and insights into their health for productive conversations with clinicians. At Boston Children’s and Duke Health, we believe that tools like Caremap will provide a medium for the patient to capture information about their health outside of the hospital or clinic and enable better coordination and conversation between patients, families and clinical teams.

For more information about Caremap please visit http://caremap.health

- Nitin Gujral, Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator, Boston Children’s Hospital

- Katie D. McMillan, Innovation Portfolio Manager, Duke Health

CareKit 1.2: Creating Fully Integrated Care Apps

We’re all about connectedness with CareKit 1.2! Today’s release includes updates to all four care modules, introduces new header views for more beautiful and intuitive ways to track health goals, and increases connectivity between consumers and care teams through our new Cloud Bridge APIs. We’ve even released a prototyping tool for anyone, even without coding experience, to use and play with these new features.

This release introduces a new tab called Care Contents that allows you to combine activities from both the Care Card and Symptom Tracker all in one place. We’ve also made some updates that let you create optional or ready only activities. The optional activities do not contribute to a user’s daily completion goals and the new read only activities are great for displaying information that doesn’t require any action from the user.

CareKit headers now display a daily ring view with customizable glyphs to reflect daily completion of care activities. The Apple team has designed 28 icons that can be displayed not only within the ring view but also as complications on the Apple Watch. Once a user reaches 100%, the ring will fill in and a star badge will appear to easily identify days of full compliance.

The Insights and Connect tabs have some great updates as well. You can now set thresholds on activities, and display alert UI and colors in the Insights tab if thresholds have been invoked. The Connect tab includes a new inbox feature with UI for messaging between consumers and care teams, friends, and family members directly within your apps.

We have also made data sharing between CareKit patient apps and care teams even easier with the new addition of our Cloud Bridge API. The Bridge API provides all of the necessary hooks through delegate functions for cloud bridge’s to seamlessly integrate with the CareKit framework, allowing developers and current cloud providers to easily create backend solutions that fit directly into the framework architecture.

You can play with all these amazing new features and upgrades without needing any development experience through our new prototyping tool! Simply download Xcode and the CareKit framework, fill in the details of your care app in the OCKPrototyper Plist, and show off your new app to colleagues, developers and loved ones!

We look forward to seeing how your CareKit apps can help further connect consumers to their health insights and care teams.

- The CareKit Team

Glow facilitates easy sharing of health information with CareKit

Women in the United States make approximately 80% of health care decisions for their families. These decisions aren’t made lightly—they often involve hours of research, and enlisting the help of family, friends, and medical professionals. Keeping this information organized and keeping everyone in the loop is crucial.

At Glow, we make mobile apps that empower women with health information. Our support begins when a woman gets her period and extends through parenting, when she becomes a central caretaker and starts to assume responsibility for the health of her loved ones.

Being a central hub of the family’s health information often requires sharing information between various parties. Knowing how much our users want to transfer their data to family members, doctors, or other caregivers, we were thrilled when Apple told us about the idea of CareKit.

CareKit’s Connect module enables fast, easy sharing of health information among family members, medical professionals, and caregivers of all kinds. For our Glow users, this means an ability to not just collect information in the app, but share that information with relevant parties and develop a solution faster.

Our apps anticipate the kind of data entries that should be shared between parties, and we leverage smart notifications to prompt users to visit the Care Team page, where they can transfer data right away. For example, a mom who uses the Glow Baby app to note that her baby has a fever will receive a notification directing her to share the information with the pediatrician, babysitter, or wider family on the Care Team page. In our Glow Nurture pregnancy app, Care Team notifications surface when a user indicates that she feels sick and when important prenatal appointments draw near.

Providing tools to make health management easier for women and families is core to our mission, and CareKit enables us to serve our users better in this regard. Better and easier sharing of information with all caretakers—doctors, nurses, partners, parents, babysitters—is another important dimension for taking control of one’s health.

- The Glow Team

The statements and opinions expressed in the CareKit blog are solely those of the respective author, who may or may not have scientific or legal training. These statements and opinions are not endorsed by and do not represent the opinions of Apple.

CareKit and the CareKit logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.