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Stay Connected During Surgery with EASE App

App helps families stay connected to caregivers during surgery

When Jane Storm underwent surgery at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Hazleton last spring, her family didn’t fret in the waiting room during the 10-hour process, wondering how she was doing. Instead, they used a new app on their mobile devices known as Electronic Access to Surgical Events, or EASE for short, to receive instantaneous updates.

“Jane is resting comfortably,” one text message read. Another was a photo of Jane Storm, smiling on the gurney in the preoperative area.

“We were able to leave the waiting room to have lunch because we knew we could come back without missing anything,” says Jane’s son, Rob Storm, 51, a self-employed home repairman and plumber from the Pocono region.

“It was a great experience.”

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M. Bijoy Thomas, MD

Gynecologic oncology

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Improving the patient and family experience 

Introduced to the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) in December 2017 in collaboration with perioperative services, EASE app modernizes hospital communication and helps reduce family anxiety during long surgical procedures. In addition to LVH–Cedar Crest, EASE is currently in use at LVH–Hazleton, LVH–Muhlenberg, LVH–Pocono and LVH–Schuylkill for surgical cases that are at least one hour and for robotic surgery cases at the ambulatory facility at LVH–17th Street.

“Until now, communicating with patients’ families relied on having people wait until the procedure was done,” says, M. Bijoy Thomas, MD, with LVPG Gynecologic Oncology, who helped launch the app at LVHN. The app allows medical staff to communicate in real-time from their mobile device from the preoperative area and operating room to family members in the hospital waiting area or anywhere in the world. “The EASE app is simple technology that makes a world of difference,” Thomas says. “Patients appreciate it as much as their family members do.”

Using EASE is easy and secure

“If my 81-year-old father can use it, anyone can,” Rob says. Friends, family members and patients simply download the EASE app on their mobile device. At the beginning of a procedure, a clinician scans a QR code on the patient’s device and a bar code on the patient’s medical bracelet. An EASE code is then generated that the patient can share. A patient’s family and friends can then receive real-time text messages, photos and videos of the patient before, during and after surgery.

LVHN is the first health system in the state and region to offer EASE. Importantly, “all EASE communication is encrypted and HIPAA compliant,” Thomas says. Messages are deleted one minute after they are reviewed.