A new smart phone app that helps patients manage heart disease and stay out of the hospital has been developed by a team led by a Rutgers-Camden nursing student.
Shannon Patel, manager of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's Heart Failure Program and an RN-to-BS student at the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden, led a team at the hospital's Heart Institute that developed the WOW ME 2000mg app to help patients, their caregivers, and their family members identify and manage symptoms of heart failure.
"This tool was designed to cross the healthcare continuum and has allowed our organization to deliver very important self-management education," says Patel, a resident of Egg Harbor Township.
The WOW ME 2000mg app takes its name from an acronym for that reminds patients to:
Measure their Output of fluids;
Walk and be active;
Take their Medications;
Evaluate signs and symptoms; and
Limit salt intake to 2,000 mg or less, with 1,500 mg being optimal.
The app prompts users with reminders and allows them to enter information about how they are managing their symptoms. It also links them with AtlantiCare's Heart Failure Resource Team and other providers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure, which is the primary cause of more than 55,000 deaths each year. AtlantiCare states that one out of every five heart failure patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.
Patel says many heart failure programs around the country are struggling to find ways to successfully teach heart failure self-management techniques. She says there is no standardized approach to reinforcement of the information taught to patients and oftentimes, patients receive differing and conflicting information depending on where they go for treatment.
"This tool standardizes heart failure self-management for patients," Patel says.
The app is based on a reference guide Patel developed with AtlantiCare's Heart Failure Resource Center and information technology team in 2010. It was released as a free downloadable iPhone app in January 2013. The team is currently developing the app for Android users.
Patel says the AtlantiCare team is also working on an upgraded version that that will include a blood pressure tracker and heart rate tracker, as well as a place for patients to track their personal health goals.
Patel says heart disease is a manageable condition and arming patients with the best information will help them be engaged in their care. The app puts the crucial information at patients' fingertips.