Reducing Surgical Readmissions Through Mobile Technology

  • End date
    Aug 2, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
Updated on 2 August 2021


This randomized trial will study the effect of a mobile app that facilitates patient engagement (patients undergoing complex abdominal surgery will track metrics of interest to the surgeon, submit reports on their symptoms/pain/physical function, and upload wound images) on readmission to the hospital. This trial will also assess whether the app can impact surgical complication severity, number of emergency department visits, and readmission costs. 300 participants will be enrolled and can expect to be on study for 6 months.


Hospital readmissions are estimated to cost $17.4 billion per year in the Medicare population alone. Readmission rates may be as high as 30% for patients undergoing complex abdominal surgery. In this study, investigators will conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess the effect of a novel mobile technology platform, MobiMD, on hospital readmission in complex abdominal surgery patients. Data from a 50-patient MobiMD pilot study supports the RCT design and mobile platform's feasibility in this study population. Investigators hypothesize that the MobiMD app can facilitate better information transfer between surgeons and patients in the high-risk postoperative time period, thereby reducing hospital readmissions, emergency department visits, complication severity, and overall resource utilization.

Investigators will conduct a parallel, single-blinded, 2-arm randomized controlled trial investigating the effect of a novel mobile health app on hospital readmissions for adults undergoing complex abdominal surgery. Three hundred participants (150 patients per arm) will be randomized to compare standard postoperative care alone versus plus MobiMD app. This study is powered to detect a clinically meaningful difference of 11% in readmissions. Participants will be eligible if they undergo any of the following procedures: pancreaticoduodenectomy, cytoreductive surgery/ hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), gastrectomy, distal pancreatectomy, liver transplant, pancreas transplant, simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant, low anterior resection, and any bowel resection requiring an ostomy. The MobiMD app collects important clinical data points and patient-reported outcomes with associated push notifications sent directly to the patient's smart device. Clinical data collected via the MobiMD app include vital signs, red flag symptoms, daily wound and surgical drain images, ostomy output, drain output, medication compliance, and wound care compliance.

The primary outcome of the RCT will be 30-day hospital readmission. The secondary outcomes will include 90-day readmission, emergency department and urgent care visits, complication severity, and total readmission cost. Exploratory outcomes will include length of stay and patient-reported outcomes in patient satisfaction, pain, and physical function. All participants will be followed for 6 months.

Condition Perioperative Care, Readmission
Treatment MobiMD
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04540315
SponsorUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison
Last Modified on2 August 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

Age > 18 years
Provision of signed and dated informed consent form
Stated willingness to comply with all study procedures and availability for the duration of the study
Patient or caregiver has access to a device capable of running the MobiMD app (tablet or smartphone)
Patient undergoing complex abdominal surgery in the department of Surgical Oncology, Colorectal Surgery, or Transplant Surgery
English speaking
Able to pass a cognitive screening test
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