iPad App Helps Patients Understand Inpatient Care Process

During an inpatient stay, patients have usually contact with a large number of professionals, including doctors, nurses, x-ray techs, phlebotomists and more.  Without help, however, patients often lose track of who’s delivering their care, forget to ask key questions and generally fail to understand the process of helping them get well.

At Boston Children’s Hospital, they’re hoping to solve the problem with a new iPad app that guides patients through their care process and makes it easy for them to communicate with clinicians. The app, MyPassport, pulls data from the hospital’s Epic and Power Chart apps and displays it in a way which helps patients stay on top of their care process.  It also prepares them for discharge and arms them with home care instructions.

The idea for MyPassport came from a paper booklet which the hospital assembled manually, adding pictures and titles for every care team member as well as pages for lab test results and summaries.  The paper book, which also offered a place for patients to write questions for their providers and information about discharge, was helpful to patients, but took a lot of effort to maintain.

The notion of transforming the paper booklet into an iPad app was spearheaded by urologist Hiep Nguyen, MD, who won a Boston Children’s FastTrack Innovation in Technology award from the hospital’s Innovation Acceleration program to create it.

Not only does the app make it easier for patients to ask questions of clinicians — or in this case, parents of patients — through an instant message-like utility, it also displays lab values in a simple format understandable by caregivers/parents. MyPassport also offers a list of goals a given patient should meet to be ready to go home.

I don’t know about you, readers, but I think this is an excellent idea. Helping patients and caregivers understand and coordinate the process of care, know their clinicians and plan for discharge is a really great use of iPad technology. While the app is undergoing a small pilot now, expect to see MyPassport or other apps like it turn up elsewhere soon. Good show, folks.