The app for complete management of the bariatric patient

Get Ready®, the digital platform for patient engagement and remote monitoring

07/04/2022

It is called Get Ready®  and is designed for all severely obese patients who are candidates for bariatric surgery to support them at every stage of their preparation and recovery from surgery. Developed by Medtronic, a leading company in Healthcare Technology, its propensity for the support of bariatric patients has seen the active involvement, in the conception and elaboration phase, of the multidisciplinary and multi-specialist team of the Bariatric Surgery Centre of the Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital Foundation where an average of 500 operations are performed every year.
The innovative solution stems from the need to actively and attentively follow the patient throughout the entire course of treatment, up to the best possible recovery after surgery and to reduce the dropout rate in attendances at follow-up check-ups, which today still stands at 60 per cent with about 30 per cent of those regaining weight. More than 100 patients at the Centre have been using the app since the beginning of the year. Optimisation of the use of resources, reduction in the number of in-person medical consultations, constant monitoring of patient parameters, and a better managed planning of the preparation for surgery are just some of the expected benefits of using the app.

Obesity is a very complex chronic disease and affects 10% of the population in Italy, about six million people. It profoundly affects the state of health because it is associated with numerous and sometimes serious comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and stroke, various forms of cancer and mental health problems that to varying degrees worsen the quality of life and decrease its expectancy.
In patients with severe obesity who have not achieved results with behavioural and pharmacological therapy, bariatric surgery may be an option for lasting recovery and reducing the risk of associated diseases as well as for regaining a better quality of life. Almost 25 thousand bariatric surgeries are performed every year in Italy, made safer by new technologies and the application of the ERABS protocol (Enhanced Recovery After Bariatric Surgery). However, surgery is only one stage in the bariatric patient's journey, a difficult and demanding journey that must be approached with awareness and supported by an efficient and effective multidisciplinary team. Today, technology, and specifically Get Ready® , offers a valuable aid in taking charge of the patient because it allows optimisation of the management of the entire treatment pathway of the obese patient through the use of a multi-channel digital platform (web, mobile, text message) and a digitised treatment protocol that permit an adequate and aware preparation of the patient for the surgical procedure, as well as remote monitoring of their health conditions by the clinical team throughout the pathway.

How it works

Get Ready®  is made available to patients the moment they are taken in by the hospital, immediately creating a direct link with the centre. The patient pathway supported by Get Ready®  is divided into three phases: the pre-surgery phase, i.e. the pre-hospitalisation phase, with the multidisciplinary assessment that will give the go-ahead or not regarding  suitability for bariatric surgery, the immediate post-op phase for the early management of any complications, and the medium-long term follow-up phase, crucial for the patient to maintain the lost weight and a good general health status over time.
Each of these phases corresponds to information content that helps patients to take an active role in their treatment pathway by recording symptoms, measuring biometric parameters and providing answers to questionnaires on their general health status. What's more, patients receive educational content, guidance on administrative procedures, lifestyle guidelines, reminders about examinations or activities to be performed, and can communicate with their clinical team through the solution's in-app messaging system.

In turn, the clinical team is able to provide concrete and effective remote assistance thanks to Get Ready®, defining the care path and protocol for their patients, monitoring their health status through the data received, and communicating directly with the patients in case of need. All this in total security, as the platform is a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service), compliant with privacy and data security regulations, and capable of integrating with the hospital's IT systems. This represents an important innovation, especially in the current COVID-19 emergency period, because it reduces the need for hospital or outpatient access.

“The need to maintain constant contact with patients who are candidates for or are undergoing bariatric surgery, especially in these times when travel and contacts have to be reduced to the bare essentials, led us to enthusiastically welcome Medtronic‘s proposal to contribute to the creation of a digitalised protocol that allows the clinical staff to follow the patient in the pre- and post-surgery pathway”, says Dr. Vincenzo Bruni, Director of Bariatric Surgery at the Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital Foundation. “The pathway for the treatment of morbid obesity, – the doctor continues – “due to its very characteristics such as the pre-operative assessment, surgery, and post-operative follow-up in the short and long term, lends itself well to the use of the digital tool, which on the one hand allows us to maintain continuous contact with the patient, and on the other to rationalise the use of time and resources. Moreover, the adoption of the ERABS (Enhanced Recovery After Bariatric Surgery) treatment protocol requires close monitoring of the patient in the first week after discharge”.

The advantages

There are many benefits of using Get Ready® for the doctor and the patient: easy configuration and activation of the solution for all users, optimised use of resources thanks to the possibility of reducing the number of hospital days and the number of in-person consultations, and better managed scheduling with a significant reduction in the number of last-minute cancellations of appointments due to inadequate patient preparation or other clinical reasons. But above all, better health outcomes thanks to adequate patient preparation for the surgical procedure and the possibility of early detection of critical situations with consequent reduction of complications and re-hospitalisations. The active involvement of the patient in his or her own course of treatment also generally improves the patient's experience, reduces anxiety and stress, and thus has a positive impact on the timing and quality of post-surgery recovery.