Mobile app follow-up care can be suitably targeted to low-risk postoperative ambulatory patients, according to researchers at the University of Toronto. The researchers found that patients who underwent ambulatory breast reconstruction and used a mobile app for follow-up care had fewer in-person visits during the first 30 days after the operation without affecting complication rates or patient-reported satisfaction.1

Reporting their findings in the journal JAMA Surgery, the investigators conducted a randomized clinical trial with 65 women (mean age, 47.7 years) who were divided into 2 groups: mobile app group (n = 32) and an in-person follow-up care group (n = 33). The app allowed patients to submit photos and answers to a quality of recovery questionnaire. Surgeons were able to follow patient reports on a web portal.

The researchers found that patients using the mobile app attended 0.40 times fewer in-person visits for follow-up care. They also sent more emails to their health care team during the first 30 days after surgery than did patients in the in-person follow-up group. The study also showed that the mobile app group was more likely to agree or strongly agree that their type of follow-up care was convenient. Complication rates and patient satisfaction scores were comparable between the groups.

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The investigators in this study believe their findings are clinically relevant because the findings suggest a more convenient and cost-effective delivery of care for patients.


1. Armstrong KA, Coyte PC, Brown M, et al. Effect of home monitoring via mobile app on the number of in-person visits following ambulatory surgery a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Surg. 2017 Mar 22. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0111 [Epub ahead of print]