Ground-breaking interactive Apps have been produced by Professor PN Haray, a Consultant Surgeon and Professor of Coloproctology at Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil, to support patients through complex illness.
Pioneering work by the colorectal department in Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil has produced these revolutionary Apps in collaboration with DigiMed with a view to providing world-wide access to a range of unique products.
Each one of the four Apps is an information resource. By using the interactive elements an App provides it helps patient and clinicians alike to navigate around and through informative content to learn about the particular issue showcased.
Patient Journey – designed for the patient, carer and their families who are trying to come to terms with the difficult news they have been given. It provides an immersive experience to help the patient understand the diagnostic tests and processes they may follow during their personal treatment journey.
The aim was to demystify the process and to help make sense of the myriad of content accessible on the internet and by also providing real people in real positions including patients! None of those in the app are actors - they all work at or are treated at the Prince Charles Hospital and this makes it a more natural information tool than others available today.
Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) – this is another information resource. It is designed for the patient to understand the enhanced recovery after surgery process and how that can benefit them before, during and after their hospital stay.
Stepwise - this is for clinicians of varying experience and skill set. It is aimed as a step by step approach to laparoscopic colorectal surgery for bowel cancer and includes a huge amount of tips and what to look out for during difficult and complex cases. This is a unique resource and can help clinicians develop this own surgical skills in this discipline.
Colorectal procedures - is a useful tool for both the patient and clinician alike. The patient can get a better understanding of their tumour position and how it will be dealt with while the clinician can use this app during a patient consultation to help show the process in a clearer and friendlier manner.
Apart from the Stepwise App, patients can watch the video content and discover information about their condition and treatment options. The patient will be empowered with a level of knowledge hitherto unattainable and will enable patients to make better choices in all aspects of their diagnosis, treatment and follow up for their condition.
Meta tags such as Colorectal, Stepwise, Surgery, ERAS will bring up the relevant app summaries.
Patient, Judith Whatley said: “Your mind can go blank when you are being given a lot of information.
“What’s useful about this information is you can play it with someone in your family to help you understand.”
In 2008, Professor Haray and DigiMed collaborated on the first patient information DVD for the diagnosis, treatment and follow up of colorectal disease.
The DVDs for patients, described the diagnosis, treatment and follow up a patient may experience when diagnosed with a bowel tumour.
In addition to the patient information DVD, a standalone Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) DVD was produced - a programme of innovations and development in pre and post-operative care, which allows patients to go home within 48 to 72 hours after undergoing bowel surgery.
These two DVD’s were launched simultaneously by Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales. Following their successful launch and patient feedback, the DVDs were updated in 2012.
A Stepwise DVD was also produced for clinicians showcasing the team’s laparoscopic techniques for anterior resection and right hemi-colectomy. This interactive app has been designed to assist senior colorectal trainees or experienced colorectal surgeons who wish to gain proficiency in the laparoscopic route for colorectal resections. Again the feedback was extremely positive.
Due to the fairly limited audience of the DVDs, Professor Haray and David Brown of DigiMed looked at the possibility of transferring the same content to an App environment, and this process continued throughout 2013.
Leading laparoscopic colorectal surgeon Professor PN Haray, who has been practising laparoscopic colorectal surgery since the late 1990s said:
“I believe these Apps are the first of their kind in the world.
“The innovative work undertaken by the department at Prince Charles Hospital will benefit patients who visit the hospital and the Health Board.
“These Apps have been created to support patients in their treatment pathway, as this can be a very difficult time, not just for the patient themselves, but also for their family.
“The NHS in Wales, the wider National Health Service and health services world-wide will also greatly benefit from the content of these Apps.”
The Apps are unique in the clinical/medical App domain because until recently Apple did not let graphic scenes of surgery be included in Apps.
The new medical rating system has allowed Apps such as these to now be readily available for download. It is very video centric, which is unusual for an App. The story is told though the eyes of real people and there is nothing currently like it available on the store.
David Brown, Producer, DigiMed said: “Seeing the DVD’s take shape as interactive apps and now available for download by anyone in the world is tremendously exciting.
“Being able to promote diagnosis, treatment and follow up of colorectal disease at Prince Charles Hospital and opening it up to a world-wide audience fills me with immense pride."
Craige Wilson, the Health Board’s Assistant Director of Operations for Scheduled Care said: “Professor Haray and his team have been at the forefront of the development of patient information and clinical training over a number of years and the creation of these Apps provides the opportunity to make this accessible to the wider population.”
The Apps are available for free download until September 1, 2014. There will be a nominal charge after this date.