Today, at Apple’s first press event of 2016, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams unveiled a new iPhone application known as CareKit, aimed at capturing, storing and analyzing patient health data and providing a direct line of communication between patients and their health care providers. The Texas Medical Center is proud to announce it is partnering with Apple to use the tools developed for CareKit to develop its own application, TMC|Care.
The first version of TMC|Care will focus on supporting patients recovering from cardiothoracic surgery. The structured nature of the recovery process and the fact that it is relatively quick, around six weeks, makes it an ideal starting point.
“For a cardiothoracic surgeon, knowing the details of a patient’s recovery is vital to preventing them from being readmitted to the hospital and ensuring that their health is steadily improving,” said TMC President and CEO Robert C. Robbins, M.D., reflecting on his own personal experience as a cardiothoracic surgeon. “We envision that the TMC|Care app will become a valued resource for both patients and doctors to manage operative recovery as safely and efficiently as possible.”
Using the app, patients will be able to track objective measurements, such as blood pressure, weight, activity and heart rate, using Bluetooth enabled devices that will automatically update the TMC|Care app on their mobile phones. Additionally, patients will provide subjective measures, such as pain levels, shortness of breath and wound healing progress, to create a holistic view of a patient’s overall wellbeing.
The physician teams from TMC member institutions emphasize that TMC|Care is not intended to replace the current standard of care, nor should it override common sense if a patient feels ill and needs to be seen immediately. Rather, the app is intended to be an additional layer of support for the patient and a connection to the care team to enrich standard of care with enhanced data and information.
TMC and its member institutions are excited about the prospect of integrating data from the patient app into each health system’s electronic medical record.
“This is the beginning of a deep and exciting collaboration between Apple, TMC and our member institutions with the goal of advancing health care for all patients,” said William F. McKeon, TMC executive vice president and chief strategy and operating officer. “The Texas Medical Center has the largest set of clinical and research expertise on one campus. We are uniquely positioned to transform the way we connect with and support patients in the future. This is yet another example of how TMC is innovating in the life sciences to improve the health of humanity.”
TMC and Apple teams are working diligently to develop and test the initial app that is comprehensive and easy to use. TMC is consulting experts across the campus to ensure that the most innovative ideas are provided.
This first version of TMC|Care marks the beginning of what is ultimately intended to be a suite of tools to aid in a variety of health-related issues. Future applications under consideration include heart surgery, congestive heart failure, chemotherapy treatment, post-cancer surgery recovery and adolescent psychiatric care support.
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