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iMedicalApps and JMIR Publications have partnered to help disseminate interesting & innovative digital health research being done worldwide. Each article in this series will feature summaries of interesting studies to help you keep up to date on the latest in digital health research. We invite you to share your thoughts on the study in the comments section.

The Development of RAPP: A Mobile Phone Application for Post-Operative Recovery Monitoring and Assessment

1. What was the motivation behind your study?

There is a current lack of a standardised follow-up after discharge when undergoing day surgery. Day surgery is a high-quality, safe and cost-effective approach and it is fast becoming the norm for nearly all elective surgery. These practices still leave many patients feeling insecure, worried, and lonely after discharge due to a lack of feedback and information regarding normality and relevant expectations during the recovery process leading to unexpected visits to health care providers and hospital re-admissions. Systematic follow up will enhance patients´ self-care capability and knowledge about managing their own health and recovery.

2. Describe your study

This paper describes the development process of a web-based application Recovery Assessment by Phone Points (RAPP) — a post operative app platform. The development included five steps:

  1. setting up an interdisciplinary task force
  2. evaluating the potential needs of app users
  3. developing the Swedish web version of a quality of recovery questionnaire
  4. constructing a smartphone application
  5. evaluating the interface and design by staff working in a day-surgery department and patients undergoing day surgery.

RAPP consists of two parts: a smartphone app installed on the patient’s private smartphone, and an administrator interface for the researchers.

3. What were the results of the study?

The evaluation of the interface and design led to some minor adjustments concerning text size and screen color. The visual analogue scale (0-10), on which the items were answered, was clarified and was made easier to answer by only touching the line and the dot on line was programmed to go back to neutral, 5, each time a new question was shown. Overall, that the app was considered easy to use, understand, and navigate by both patients and personnel. A web based app including The Swedish web-based Quality of Recovery (SWQoR) can be installed and functional in patients own smartphones.

4. What is the main point that readers should take away from this study?
Taking advantage of joint expertise, a usable web-based app adaptable to different technical platforms was constructed. In addition, the SWQoR was successfully transferred into digital format for use on mobile phones.

5. What was the most surprising finding from your study?

The overall positive attitude towards the method of evaluating postoperative recovery using an app expressed by both patients and staff as well as the confirmation from the staff of the need for systematic follow up in the recovery process.

6. What are the next steps? How do you envision this work ultimately translating into clinical practice or affect R&D?

The overall aim of the project is to integrate society’s need for quality auditing and assurance in healthcare with patients´ need for safe and reliable information and communication regarding their postoperative recovery. We believe that this will increase patients’ self-care. Using systematic follow-up and remote symptom monitoring during postoperative recovery, enables evaluations and comparisons of the usefulness and cost-effectiveness of different technical approaches to drug treatment, care activities and competence development. It is also hoped that the use of systematic follow up will help guide improvements in areas of anesthesia and postoperative care, leading to an enhanced postoperative recovery.

This Q&A piece was submitted by Jaensson et al.

Jaensson M, Dahlberg K, Eriksson M, Grönlund Å, Nilsson U. The Development of the Recovery Assessments by Phone Points (RAPP): A Mobile Phone App for Postoperative Recovery Monitoring and Assessment. JMIR mHealth uHealth 2015;3(3):e86. Free Full Text