Follow-Up Care Just a Click Away

Actively engaging patients in their care remains a key driver in
improving outcomes and lowering costs. Surgical patients can now
use their smartphone to stay on track—and ask for help—before and
after a procedure, all at the click of a button.

GetWell Loop is a mobile app that offers easy, two-way
communication, both to and from the surgeon’s office. Advocate
Aurora Health surgeons in Illinois use the tool to connect with
their patients before surgery, during their inpatient stay and after
discharge. During the first 90 days following discharge, when
readmissions are most likely to occur, patients receive automated
“check-in” text messages to see how they are recovering.

Since launching a GetWell Loop pilot in 2016 across orthopedic
surgery settings in Illinois, this innovative tool has engaged patients
to partner with their surgeon to achieve better outcomes.

The tool now covers all surgical specialties and is used to connect
with patients as part of the Medicare Bundled Payment Program—
ensuring care is coordinated following an inpatient hospital visit.
To date, nearly 2,000 patients have been invited to use GetWell Loop,
with 73 percent of these patients activating and routinely using their
account. Of these patients:

  • Over 83 percent report they were able to avoid unnecessary follow-up office visits
  • 93 percent report they are “extremely likely to recommend” their providers

GetWell Loop’s automated daily engagement feature encourages
patients to become active stakeholders in their own health.
It empowers them to reach out for information or advice they feel
they need, when they need it. Remote guidance and monitoring
keep surgical patients on track toward a successful recovery.

Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Following surgery, many patients head home with prescriptions
for opioid painkillers. The American Society of Anesthesiologists
recommends using prescription painkillers sparingly after surgery.
To avoid the potential for opioid addiction, surgical patients need to
be properly educated about the risks and benefits of opioids—before
their surgery takes place. GetWell Loop is helping in this effort, as
health care organizations can customize the content of this digital
app to meet their own patients’ needs. With this in mind, Advocate
Aurora Health created several short videos on the topic of opioids
that surgical patients are encouraged to view on GetWell Loop.

These short videos include easy-to-follow instructions explaining the
proper use of drugs after surgery and how to dispose of any unused
opioids. These videos are now available to all Advocate Aurora Health
surgical patients—in both Illinois and Wisconsin.

Keeping Patients on Track for a Rapid Recovery

Ritesh Shah, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, adopts new advances that
allow many joint replacement patients to walk out of the hospital 90
minutes after surgery and resume their active lives in days or weeks.
Such rapid recoveries are made possible because of new advances in
surgery, anesthesia, physical therapy and importantly—proper patient
preparation and education.

Closely following these “rapid recovery” patients once they leave the
hospital is crucial to the healing process and the success of joint
replacement surgery. Dr. Shah believes the GetWell Loop has made
keeping tabs on surgical patients more efficient.

“It is a very helpful tool to engage patients after they leave the
hospital setting,” he says. “I can check on how they are doing at
home, address any concerns they may have in a timely manner and
follow their outcomes as the treating physician.