San Francisco, CA — Digital health company Peerwell created an app to prepare patients for surgery and, in turn, reduce the amount of time they spend in the hospital. Called PreHab, it provides peer support and psychological preparation for a medical procedure, alongside exercise and nutrition recommendations. In a new study published in the Annals of Translational Medicine, PreHab produced staggering results among participants receiving knee surgery.

Patients who did not receive the app-based intervention ended up staying in the hospital for nearly a day longer than the PreHab patients, for 2.7 days as opposed to 2. And while Peerwell is focused on decreasing hospital time, there were a number of other noteworthy stats. 57.2% of patients who didn’t have the app needed at-home assistance after their surgery, compared with 23.8% of PreHab patients. And 21.8% of non-PreHab patients required time in a nursing facility after discharge; only 1.8% of people with PreHab did.

But Peerwell already has something else in store on the post-op front: another app of theirs, ReHab, was created specifically to ease patients’ at-home experiences after being discharged. A combination of pre-surgical prep and post-op support may revolutionize patient journeys and save people thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Johnson & Johnson has already unveiled a suite of support products with similar goals. Called Health Partner, it’s comprised of a website, app and communication portal that educates people about their interventional options, guides them through the experience of surgery, and connects them with a care team throughout. Content is tailored to individual patients based on their personal motivational styles.

Why This Matters

More and more major health care players are growing attuned to the struggles darkening patient journeys, especially regimen adherence and the need for psychological support. Combatting widespread misinformation and the billions of dollars lost annually on treatment non-compliance, digital health innovations continue to demonstrate a capacity to change the game. From their providers, patients have already come to expect high-caliber, comprehensive support.

About the Author:

Ben helps spark innovative healthcare thinking as Associate Director of Innovation. Previously on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, he brings experience in engaging, rigorous storytelling to the healthcare world. Ben’s goals are to move brands to rethink their roles, own their evolving narratives, and maintain vital and vigorous consumer relationships.