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mHealthIntelligence: Cedars-Sinai Doctors Use mHealth to Improve Recovery

mHealthIntelligence recently interviewed Timothy Daskivich, MD, director of Health Services Research for the Cedars-Sinai Department of Surgery, about a new program – based on data from a recent study – that encourages and measures daily exercise after major surgery. Results suggest that patients who are given wearables and take at least 1,000 steps a day post-surgery are sent home sooner.

“Activity monitors provide an inexpensive platform for more precise assessment, ordering, and monitoring of step count toward evidence-based daily goals and may indeed become a sixth vital sign for surgical teams,” Daskivich, lead author of the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, told the publication.

Daskivich is part of a team of 10 providers at Cedars-Sinai who launched the program in 2016, using Fitbits. At the time, little was known about how to measure steps with a wearable or quantify their value, so he and Brennan Spiegel, MD, Cedars-Sinai’s director of health services research, set a baseline of 1,000 steps a day and started setting parameters.

“In the context of major surgery, ambulation is one of the most critical outcomes we focus on post-operatively,” Daskivich told mHealthIntelligence in a January 2018 interview. But doctors traditionally just asked their patients how much exercise they’d had and took those answers at face value.

“Given the high stakes for poor ambulation, surgical teams have a need for better information regarding postoperative ambulation, including a simple method for quantification of an objective ambulation goal linked to a relevant clinical outcome,” Daskivich and his colleagues wrote in the study.

Through their study, which focused on 100 patients, the researchers found that patients taking 1,000 steps a day – beginning on the first day after surgery - had a lower probability of a prolonged hospital stay. They also found that the odds of a shorter hospital stay improved incrementally for every 100 steps but didn’t increase significantly after 1,000 steps.

“Such systems will be crucial to integrating step count into busy workflows and providing a platform for feedback to patients, nurses, and physicians about progress toward step count goals,” the study noted.

Click here to read the complete article on mHealthIntelligence. 

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Should You Exercise on the Beach?