"It closes the gap when the ball is dropped": patient perspectives of a novel smartphone app for regional care coordination after hospital encounters

Adriana Guzman*, Tiffany Brown, David T. Liss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Despite the broad adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) for inpatient and outpatient care, and wide availability of EHR-linked portals, these tools are not always effective in informing primary care teams about patients' emergency department (ED) visits or inpatient admissions, leading to persistent gaps in care coordination. The objective of this study was to understand how patients with limited patient portal use in a safety net setting engaged with a smartphone app that used location tracking to detect and notify care teams about patients' hospital use in order to stimulate care coordination and follow-up care. Methods: We recruited English- and Spanish-speaking adults at high risk of hospital use from a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). The app detected when patients visited the hospital and asked them to confirm a hospital visit. When confirmed, the app notified the primary care team about the visit, and the care team followed up with patients according to the FQHC protocols for care coordination. We collected qualitative data on app experience from participants who used the app for four months and used a general inductive approach to identify recurring themes. Results: Participants generally reported a positive app experience, as it helped solve the problem of poor follow-up care. "I liked the goal of the appUltimate goal of it was comforting", recounted one participant when describing her app experience. Participants thought the app push notifications could be refined and the app itself could be modernized. Participants also suggested improvements to the push notifications they received from the app and the visit information they entered into the app for care teams to receive. Some participants also suggested improvements to the FQHC's care coordination workflows facilitated by the app, like an immediate connection to the patient's primary care team. Conclusions: The app was well received by low-income patients at high risk of ED/inpatient visits. Future research is needed to determine feasibility of implementation in other settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalmHealth
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Care coordination
  • mHealth
  • patient-centered care
  • primary health care
  • vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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