App-users less likely to cancel outpatient & inpatient spine surgeries — 5 study insights

Smartphone apps can improve patient compliance with preoperative instructions and decrease last-minute surgical cancellations, according to a peer-reviewed study published in The Cureus Journal of Medical Science.

Researchers studied patients 174 undergoing spine surgery in an outpatient or inpatient setting. They compared outcomes between 85 patients who used the Amie by FavorHealth app and 89 patients who were only given standard paper instructions.

Five takeaways:

1. All 85 patients who downloaded the app read and complied with preoperative instructions.

2. There were no cancelled surgeries among patients using the app. Five of the 89 patients who did not use the app cancelled surgeries, a cancellation rate of 5.6 percent.

3. Two non-app users cancelled the day of surgery because of uncontrolled hypertension due to failure to comply with antihypertensive medications. Two had significant cardiac comorbidities and didn't follow preoperative instructions to see their cardiologists. The fifth patient who cancelled had renal insufficiency and didn't see a nephrologist before surgery.

4. Researchers noted patients with smartphones or tablets who use apps are often younger and more likely than older patients to retain information. Older patients are less also likely to be compliant with instructions.

5. Elective surgery cancellation rates range from 6 percent to 20 percent. Three of the four top causes of last-minute surgery cancellations for elective procedures are patient-related and preventable.

More articles on outpatient spine:
Innovation in spine will focus on outpatient: Q&A with Dr. Alexander Taghva
3 must-read Q&As about spine in ASCs
Patient selection, Medicare reimbursement & more — 7 insights on spine surgery in ASCs 

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