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Can an App Help Reduce the Number of Hospital Readmissions?

Get to know the Health-E App, one of the inaugural Thalheimer Fund Recipients
Posted June 14, 2016
Ali Afshar, PhD candidate, Francoise Marvel, internal medicine resident, Ethan Dyer, Med '19, Seth Martin, MD Ali Afshar, PhD candidate, Francoise Marvel, internal medicine resident, Ethan Dyer, Med '19, Seth Martin, MD

The team behind the Health-E App received one of the three inaugural Thalheimer Fund grants from Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures.

What:

Health-E App, a mobile hospital-to-home navigator

Why:

Nearly 20 percent of patients discharged from U.S. hospitals every year end up being readmitted within 30 days — which causes an immense strain on the nation’s health care system as well as major roadblocks on patients’ roads to recovery. Francoise Marvel, a second-year internal medicine resident at Johns Hopkins Bayview, sees the traditional hospital discharge process as a primary culprit. What if, instead of squeezing the discharge process into the last 10 minutes of a stay and sending patients off with a sheaf of stapled paper — the standard procedure — hospitals integrated technology throughout the treatment process to help patients learn about and manage their care on their own through a mobile app?

How it works:

The Health-E App can be downloaded to a device early in the hospitalization process so that patients can familiarize themselves with it and ask their doctors and nurses questions. After patients are discharged, the app helps them understand their health situation (what they were admitted for and how they were treated) and manage their medications (updating prescriptions and providing reminders). Eventually, the goal is to connect the app to patients' electronic medical record so physicians can see when and how the patients are adhering to their regimens, says Gorkem Sevinc, MS (Engr '10), managing director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Technology Innovation Center (TIC), which played a key role in assembling Marvel’s team of collaborators.

Who:

Marvel; Seth Martin, MD, assistant professor of medicine and cardiology and associate director of the Lipid Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital; Ethan Dyer, Med '19; Arnav Malhotra, Engr '18; Matthew Ige, Engr '17; Michael Signorelli, Engr '19; Farhan Merali, MD, MBA, ophthalmology fellow, Wilmer Eye Institute; Ali Afshar, PhD candidate in electrical and computer engineering, Whiting School

What’s next:

The team is completing construction of the app, as well as a beta test. This summer, Health-E will undergo a pilot test with patients in the cardiology progressive care units at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview. "The Thalheimer Fund has been a game-changer for us," says Marvel. "We were slowly making progress, but now we can bring the skills and expertise to complete the app."