Mobile app cuts costs, hospital durations for cesarean patients

A cesarean delivery takes a toll on the mother, leaving her to recover for days in a hospital, but an app may help hasten recovery. A recent study, presented at American Society of Anesthesiologists Practice Management's 2017 meeting, shows that smartphone apps can get a mother home early, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs.

The Perioperative Surgical Home program, a physician led, team-based approach to the surgical process, allowed women with planned cesarean sections to download a smartphone app a month prior to the procedure. The app included pre-surgery information, gave reminders of appointments and provided post-surgery checks for pain and wound recovery.

For the 30 women included, the study found the app decreased hospital stays from 3.7 days to 2.7 days. When factoring in the amount saved with the app, researchers found an average savings of 216 percent in the first year of implementation and an estimated 285 percent in the following years.

“While it is too soon to report quality outcomes such as surgical site infections, urinary tract infections and patient satisfaction, early results are promising,” said study author Attila Kett, MD, MBA, division chief of obstetric anesthesia at Saint Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “While federal law requires insurance companies pay for 96 hours of hospitalization after C-section, it is safe and preferable to leave the hospital sooner if the physician determines the mother and baby are healthy and the mother agrees. The app empowers women by putting them in control of their health care needs.”