Southcoast Health adopts mobile app to improve surgical patient care

NEW BEDFORD – Southcoast Health is using the Trusted Patient Coach mobile app developed by Health Helm to help patients recovering from surgery after being discharged from the hospital.

The app is designed to improve surgical outcomes and reduce the need for emergency-department visits by enabling clinicians and patients to easily connect 24 hours a day. The experience begins in the clinician’s office by entering the details of the individual care plan on a smartphone. The doctor would enter what medications to take and what vital signs to measure, according to Trusted Patient Coach. Each day, the patient enters the care plan information on their phone: weight, blood pressure, blood sugar level, according to the care plan.

The data is checked against targets set by the doctor, which results in better adherence to the care plan and improved recovery, according to Trusted Patient Coach. Patients or their coach can ask questions through the app.

Because it supports 24-hour, two-way connection between a patient and clinician, the app will shed light on the “zone of darkness” that often occurs when surgical patients return home from the hospital, Southcoast Health said.

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Currently, clinicians do not know if their patients are complying with the care plan they received at discharge, and patients or family members can be uncertain if symptoms are serious or just part of the normal healing process. The result can be a visit to the emergency department or complications that could be avoided if symptoms were identified early.

The patient or designated “coach,” who will usually be a family member, will download the app to a phone or tablet before the procedure. The app is password-protected and adheres to the federal law restricting release of medical information to ensure privacy.

Communication will start as patients are preparing for the procedure, and after discharge clinicians will be able to monitor their patients’ condition and care plan compliance through a daily survey of 12 questions. Patients will also be asked to report the medications they take every day.

“We are pleased to partner with Health Helm to offer this latest in health care communications technology to our patients and their clinicians,” said Keith Hovan, president and CEO of Southcoast Health. “The Trusted Patient Coach mobile app is one more way that Southcoast Health is using technology in innovative ways to improve patient care.”

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at