Mobile app aims to lower hospital readmission rates

May 15, 2013

A new mobile app is expected to help improve the quality of patient care across the nation. A team of University at Buffalo students created it to help reduce hospital readmission rates.

The “Discharge Roadmap” app is currently in the prototype stage, when completed it will allow patients and their caregivers to fully participate in the discharge planning process.

The 'Discharge Roadmap' app team
Credit University at Buffalo / From left to right in this picture are: Dapeng Cao, Nicolette McGeorge, Theresa Guarrera, Yuan Zhou, David LaVergne, Sabrina Casucci, Judith Tiferes Wang, and Dr. Li Lin.

Student team leader at UB Sabrina Casucci said the project was inspired by studies showing there is constant miscommunication between patients, hospitals and post-hospital caregivers.

“The elderly is just a very easy example to use. They may have a different conception of how independent they can be once they return home and what their care needs are than what they really, in actuality, need. They may say I’m completely independent and I can do my laundry, even though it’s a three-story walk-up and they just fell and broke their hip. So there is a lot of need to communicate that information better,” said Casucci.

The mobile app will store post-op care information and keep track of prescriptions and follow-up appointments. Project leader and UB professor Li Lin said the ‘Discharge Roadmap’ will ultimately reduce the operating costs of hospitals and insurance companies.

“The federal government considers the hospitals to be responsible for patients coming back even though the patients were treated properly in the hospital, but then after they leave the hospital maybe they did not take care of themselves properly. In reality that may or may not be the hospitals responsibility, however the hospitals are held responsible anyway," said Lin.

For example, 18 percent of Medicare hospital admissions in 2008 resulted in a subsequent readmission within 30 days costing $15 million, according to a 2008 report to Congress by the Medical Payment Advisory Commission. The report states that 80 percent of the readmissions could have been avoided with better post discharge care.

The design team recently won $25,000 for its prototype through a contest sponsored by GE Healthcare and the Ochsner Health System. The award will be used to bring the final version of the app to fruition.

A video of what the app will look like is below: