Guido Alvarez has been to other emergency departments (ED) in the past and found that the aftercare instructions he received upon discharge were not always clear. This can be expected given the fast-paced nature of any such deparment.
Many emergency patients report feeling overwhelmed and not able to focus on instructions while at the hospital. These patients would prefer to review more information when they get home or with family. When Alvarez arrived at Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH), he had a different experience: he was introduced to a new app being piloted by the hospital’s office of innovation—Dash MD.
Dash MD is the first smartphone app of its kind for discharged emergency patients. It provides patients with treatment-specific aftercare instructions, helps patients access relevant community care resources, and manage medications, appointments and contacts.
MSH was the first hospital to pilot this innovative technology. The app brings together these important tools that benefit both patients on their recovery journey, and care providers in assisting their patients.
“This type of app can help take the care I receive to the next level,” says Alvarez. “The app has a ton of great info—much more than the paper pamphlets could hold.”
In addition to learning more about his specific injury, Alvarez also used the Discover Community Care section of the app to connect with the appropriate external care provider to aid his recovery. Early analysis shows that that section is the most used feature of Dash MD, followed by use of the ‘To Do’ Checklist, and the ‘Medication and Appointment’ tools.
“All patients leave the emergency department with discharge instructions, follow-up plans, and appointments. Patients need to absorb so much information and it is challenging to remember all of it,” says Dr. Andrew Arcand, Chief of Emergency Medicine, MSH. “The app format for discharge instructions enables patients and their family members quick and easy access to important information wherever and whenever they need it.”
A recent study commissioned by Telus Health and Canada Health Infoway, found that over two-thirds of Canadians own a smartphone and nearly nine in ten Canadians believe that digital health solutions will lead to better care.
“Many people depend on a smart phone as an access point for information so it only makes sense to give patients an app to help with this,” says Dr. Arcand.
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Dash MD Tools:
- Aftercare Instructions – Easy access to instructions available on patients’ smartphones
- “To Do” Checklist – Recommended aftercare tasks for each condition listed, created by the MSH clinical team.
- Symptoms – Patients can access common symptoms and depending on the severity of their symptoms they will be directed to the appropriate care provider.
- Medication Manager – Alerts to manage their medication plan.
- Appointment Manager – Patients can input and manage appointments
- Discover Community Care – Connects patients with healthcare resources in the community.
Healthcare Contact Manager – Patients can keep track of the healthcare contacts relevant to their recovery.
Story by Andrew Schellenbach, Project Manager of Innovation at Markham Stouffville Hospital.
Image cutline: Kris, a nurse at MSH, explains how to use the Dash MD app to a patient. Dash MD is a new smartphone app which helps patients make the transition from hospital to home safer and easier.
(photo credit: Andrew Aggerholm)