OhioHealth recently rolled out a new smart phone application for women’s health, connecting patients to their obstetric and gynecological care with a stream of pertinent information between physician appointments. The goal of the women’s health application is to educate patients about their conditions and enhance communication with their physicians.
Developed by OhioHealth physicians in partnership with Duet Health, a mobile software products company with solutions in health care. The Duet Health app provides expectant mothers with text, images and videos about all aspects of their pregnancies – from timely appointment reminders to screening test explanations. The firm chose the name Duet Health because “the whole concept is you and your doctor together,” said company principal and co-founder Jeff Harper. The application also includes information about menopause, fertility and other women’s health issues. It is available as a free download from the iTunes store or the Android Marketplace.
“This is something that empowers patients to be more informed when they arrive for their office visits,” said OB/GYN Andrew Bokor, MD, Grant Medical Center, one of the first physicians to offer the application to his patients. “It links them to our office phones, provides directions to the hospitals where we deliver and gives them information 24/7 at their fingertips about the stages of fetal development or common pregnancy-related problems such as hemorrhoids. I don’t think there is any way it won’t improve quality of women’s health care and outcomes.”
A home screen personalizes the content with the patient’s due date that helps determine the timing of updates about gestation periods and screenings. A “memo pad” enables patients to record notes about issues they want to address at their next office visit. About 60 patients at Grant Medical Center and Riverside Methodist Hospital began testing the application in March. “Their response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Dr. Bokor said. “They like the idea that they can have instant access at any time to trusted information on their phones.”
Dr. Bokor served on a physician task force with Riverside OB/GYN’s Mini Somasundaram, MD, and David Bell, MD, to develop content for Duet Health. “So many people are going to the web for health care information that is not always reliable, where it is hard to tell the difference between fact and opinion,” Dr. Somasundaram said. “The application guarantees accurate, evidence-based answers to questions such as, ‘what kind of medications can I take’ or ‘what kind of test am I supposed to have next week.’ “
Added Dr. Bell: “Patients like the idea they can have quick access to content directed by OhioHealth physicians about concerns such as diet and weight gain. One of the application’s best features for physicians is our ability to transmit important notifications to patients about tests at the correct points in their pregnancies.”
OhioHealth began offering the women’s health application to a limited number of obstetrics patients in March and plans to expand to all obstetric patients by mid-April. They are also preparing applications for orthopedics, sports medicine and other specialties. “We wanted to go down this path because the growing use of smart phones by our patient population is one area of patient education we have not tapped into,” said Mrunal Shah, MD, vice president, Physician Technology Services. “OhioHealth is always looking for opportunities to leverage technology to improve patient care and this is just another way to do that.”
“The fact is that many patients forget about 80% of what they were told in their office visit,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Michael Krouse. “Our goal is to be a trusted partner for better health, so we have to figure out ways to be available whenever the questions arise and provide timely information and reminders to our patients well outside the office visit. Duet Health helps us deliver on that trusted partnership.” Krouse emphasized that the Duet Health application does not exchange personal health information: “This is a HIPAA compliant application,” he said. “We’re very sensitive to privacy issues.”
Health Imaging and IT magazine in 2010 named OhioHealth to its list of the nation’s “Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities” for the third consecutive year. The healthcare data and consulting firm SDI recently ranked OhioHealth as one of the nation’s top integrated health networks. “Using health information technology to enhance the patient experience is what our initiatives such as the smart phone applications are all about,” said Krouse.
To learn more about the women’s health programs and services available from OhioHealth, please visit www.ohiohealth.com/womenshealth.
Named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare organization serving and supported by the community. Based in Columbus, Ohio, it is a family of 18 hospitals, 23 health and surgery centers, home-health providers, medical equipment and health service suppliers throughout a 40-county area. OhioHealth hospitals in central Ohio are Riverside Methodist Hospital, Grant Medical Center, Doctors Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital and Dublin Methodist Hospital.
For more information, please visit our Web site at www.ohiohealth.com.