Mobile applications (apps) are serving an increasingly important role in healthcare for patients and providers alike. In addition to streamlining active communication of patient-reported outcomes regarding quality of life, pain, and opioid consumption, smartphones equipped with activity tracking afford the opportunity to passively and objectively measure mobility, a key metric of recovery in spine surgery. However, app development is a resource-intensive process.
To survey adult neurosurgery patients regarding access to and interest in this platform.
In June and July 2017, a paper-based anonymous survey was distributed to patients in the waiting room of the adult neurosurgery clinic of a large US academic medical center. Patients’ smartphone use and interest in using a mobile app following spine surgery were the primary and secondary outcomes, respectively.
Of 146 included responses, 102 patients (70%) regularly used a smartphone, and this number increased to 77% among patients with a history of spine surgery (n = 66, 45% of respondents). Seventy-one percent of patients with previous spine surgery expressed an interest in using a postoperative monitoring and communication app, compared to 81% of patients without prior spine operations (n = 80, 55%).
Among neurosurgery patients, there is a high level of access to and interest in smartphone apps to aid postoperative recovery. These results are useful for other neurosurgeons considering mobile app development for this purpose.