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Surgical Innovation
April 19, 2017

A Pilot Use of Patient-Generated Wound Data to Improve Postdischarge Surgical Site Infection Monitoring

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 2Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics, University of Washington, Seattle
JAMA Surg. Published online April 19, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0568

The use of mobile health (mHealth) to convey patient-generated health data (PGHD) offers new enhancements and challenges to the provision of surgical care. The Mobile Post-Operative Wound Evaluator (mPOWEr) is a patient-centered mHealth app created to enhance and personalize postsurgical wound care after hospital discharge (http://mpowercare.org/#services). Surgical site infection (SSI) is the most common and costly health care–associated infection in the United States, accounting for 20% of surgical readmissions1 and estimated to cost $20 000 per case.2 With increasingly shorter hospitalizations and more procedures performed in ambulatory surgical centers, postdischarge SSI rates are now higher than inpatient rates.3 Thus, SSI is a prime target for both prevention and early detection. An innovative store-and-forward telemedicine solution, mPOWEr allows for remote triage of postoperative wounds, combining a validated postdischarge SSI surveillance questionnaire with patient-generated wound photographs (Figure). Patients and providers (ie, surgeons and other physicians, nurses, and any other health care personnel who provide direct postoperative wound care) may use mPOWEr on their own smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop to monitor for signs of infection. A similar app, WoundCheck, has been developed contemporaneously by investigators at the University of Wisconsin.4

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