Mar 26, 2018

Surgeons create app to help patients recover after operations

Patients are guided through the treatment process by their own surgeon on the app

Two surgeons who have both been on the sharp end of a scalpel are launching an app that will help patients prepare for surgery and recover afterwards.

Axel Sylvan, 31, and Tom Harte, 31, created the myrecovery app after helping each other recuperate from operations.

“I had spinal surgery early in my surgical career,” said Dr Sylvan, who is originally from Sweden. “Tom was a good friend and helped care for me. Then Tom had a series of operations and I helped him.

“We talked about what it’s like to be on the sharp end of a scalpel and we tried to map out a way to give people a better idea of what to expect from surgery and how to plan your life around it.

Unlike consumer healthcare apps, myrecovery is prescribed by doctors. It is being piloted at the Wellington Hospital in London for orthopaedic and sports medicine patients.

It uses films and graphics to guide patients through each stage of the treatment process from initial consultation to post-operative recovery. It is highly personalised and contains video advice from the patient’s own surgeon.

The app also allows patients to film themselves doing their post-operative physiotherapy exercises. This provides a reminder of how to do the exercises and is a way of tracking progress: they can look back at the films and see how far they have come.

“It’s a bit more fun to have video of yourself doing ankle pumps than one from a library of exercise videos,” Dr Sylvan said.

Mr Simon Moyes, who is one of the first surgeons in London to make the app available to his patients, said: “The app is a digital companion that helps patients understand what to expect at every stage of their treatment journey.

“People are understandably anxious when they are injured and facing the prospect of surgery. As a result, it can be hard to retain every piece of information they are given in hospital. With the app they can now watch a film of their surgeon talking through each stage of treatment and recovery. They can also refer to written information and graphics.

“We think that people who are well-informed and supported through the treatment process will feel less anxious and we are looking forward to hearing feedback from patients about the app.”

The app, which is free for patients, also gathers patient feedback and clinical outcomes survey scores. It can also collect activity data giving both clinicians and patients objective markers to help them understand progress and outcomes.

The app was created for orthopaedic surgery but is expanding to support all aspects of musculoskeletal medicine, including non-operative management of injuries and conditions within rheumatology and sports medicine.

Dr Sylvan said: “The overall aim is to build a more compelling story of each patient’s treatment journey which should be helpful both for patients and clinicians.”


Introducing Mr Simon Moyes’ myrecovery app from myrecovery on Vimeo.

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