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Outcome Research
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Houston Methodist Researchers Are Developing Mobile Apps to Improve Clinical Outcomes in Patients
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The potential benefits of mobile health technology seem obvious: engaging a patient provides opportunity for that patient to get informed and be empowered to actively participate in their own care. However, evidence supporting the effectiveness of mobile health platforms is limited. Houston Methodist researchers are developing patient-facing applications (apps) that will provide the supporting evidence needed and serve patients. Here’s a brief look at the mobile apps researchers are working on and how they are improving patient outcomes.
01
Mobile App Improves Joint Replacement Surgery Outcomes
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An observational study published in the journal JMIR mHealth and uHealth compared the outcomes of 2,059 patients who underwent a total hip or knee replacement by orthopedic surgeons who used mobile health technology with 2,554 similar patients of nonparticipating surgeons. Led by Roberta Schwartz, PhD, executive vice president and chief innovation officer of Houston Methodist, this study demonstrated that those participating with the mobile health technology showed shorter hospital stays, reduced post-surgery readmission rates and greater patient satisfaction than those in the group not using mobile health.
02
Mobile App (MOCHA) for Breast Cancer Survivors Promote Healthy Lifestyle Choices and Weight Loss
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Stephen T.C. Wong, PhD
Treatment for breast cancer can lead to unintentional weight gain, and obesity is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence. To help cancer survivors make healthy lifestyle choices and lose weight, Stephen T. C. Wong, PhD, the John S. Dunn Sr. Presidential Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering, and his informatics development team at Houston Methodist designed The Methodist Hospital Cancer Health Application, or MOCHA, which is a mobile health app that functions as an interactive resource for cancer survivors. Preliminary data indicate that the more one engages with the app, the more weight one can lose.
03
Breast Cancer Risk Calculator App (BRISK) May Reduce Unneeded Biopsies
Houston Methodist researchers Jenny Chang, MD, the Emily Herrmann Presidential Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research and director of the Dr. Mary and Ron Neal Cancer Center, and Stephen T.C. Wong, PhD, developed the Breast Cancer Risk Calculator (BRISK) to provide precise risk assessments to reduce overdiagnosis and unnecessary biopsies after an abnormal mammogram. Using BRISK, oncologists and radiologists can more accurately determine whether to biopsy breast tissue of this subgroup. Their results were published in JCO: Clinical Cancer Informatics and demonstrate that BRISK can effectively identify faint pathogenic patterns and generate a more accurate risk score for better-informed biopsy decisions after abnormal mammograms.
04
Mobile App That Could Revolutionize Stroke Diagnosis
John Volpi, MD
Diagnosing a stroke quickly in the emergency department is crucial. To best utilize the most effective stroke treatments and improve patient outcomes, it’s critical to find an effective and rapid stroke diagnostic tool. Toward this end, John Volpi, MD, associate professor of clinical neurology, and his team at Houston Methodist collaborated with researchers at Pennsylvania State University to develop a mobile app that uses a machine learning algorithm for computer-aided evaluation of facial movement weaknesses and speech ability to determine the presence of stroke in patients. Their data indicate that the app’s diagnostic capability is comparable to that of emergency room health care providers. Most notable, assessment using the app takes less than four minutes. The tool could be used by emergency room professionals, caregivers or patients themselves to make assessments and more quickly determine critical next steps. This would give patients a key advantage in surviving and successfully recovering from a stroke.
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