J&J MedTech provides a Digital Solution to McGill University Health Centre to enable remote monitoring and communication with colorectal surgery patients

Woman doctor standing in front of a digital screen

MARKHAM, ON (April 21, 2022) - An innovative smartphone app provided by Johnson & Johnson MedTech in Canada* is helping colorectal surgery patients at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) spend less time in hospital, avoid unnecessary trips to the Emergency Room post-discharge, and communicate more easily with their care teams.1-2 ​

Two studies conducted by MUHC explored the feasibility of the Same Day Discharge (SDD) protocol and the ability to reduce emergency visits with a post-discharge follow-up using a mobile phone app for patients undergoing elective minimally invasive colectomies. The results of the studies proved significant.​

The app, called CareSense, is a secure, bilingual digital navigation and data collection tool used to facilitate remote monitoring of patients, from pre to post surgery. With today’s health resources stretched to capacity, apps and other digital tools are being studied in a variety of health settings, both to enhance patient outcomes, address the staffing shortage crisis, and ultimately, reduce costs. Thanks to a partnership between the Department of Surgery at the MUHC and J&J MedTech in Canada, colorectal surgery patients at MUHC and their providers are seeing the value of the approach first-hand.​

“The CareSense app has been shown to be extremely useful in supporting uneventful ambulatory recovery and reducing unnecessary healthcare resource utilization,” says Dr. Lawrence Lee, Colon and Rectal Surgeon, Department of Surgery, McGill University Health Centre, and lead investigator on the CareSense study. “In addition, it’s proven to be effective in improving patient-physician communication, as patients can communicate directly with providers through the app and get the guidance and reassurance they need in real-time. This in turn helps patients avoid many unnecessary trips to the ER as they’re recovering.”​

Patients in the CareSense group were instructed to download and start using the app in advance of their first appointment with their surgeon, and to participate in monitoring surveys as they prepared for surgery. Following surgery, they were asked to input into a daily questionnaire, reporting on their level of pain, status of wound and ability to drink liquids, pass gas or have a bowel movement.  Throughout the journey, patients were able to send and receive text messages and connect directly with their care teams via the app, to ask questions and receive additional updates.  ​

CareSense patients spent an average of 1.62 fewer days in hospital and had fewer preventable Emergency Department visits than the control group, and reported feeling satisfied about their ability to easily communicate with their care teams. Staff in turn reported efficient engagement with patients using the app, and an enhanced ability to easily share educational videos and other helpful information.2​

J&J MedTech estimates that MUHC could realize an annual savings of $556,0003 based on a volume of 300 elective colorectal procedures, as a result of the reduced length of stays in hospital for patients using the app. MUHC is now making the CareSense app available to all of its elective colorectal surgery patients with a smartphone and, in partnership with J&J MedTech, will soon expand the program to other areas within general surgery. ​

“At Johnson & Johnson we’re driven by our responsibility to help patients live better and longer lives, and our commitment to contributing solutions to alleviate the burden of the healthcare system,” says Anuj Pasrija, Vice President, Strategic Customer Group Canada, Johnson & Johnson MedTech.  “We aim to achieve this vision by supporting forward-thinking partners like McGill University Health Centre, helping them to advance their good work, enhance patient outcomes, and drive ongoing efforts to provide cost-effective care.”​

In addition to colorectal surgery, J&J MedTech is supporting efforts to advance the use of digital technologies, like CareSense, in orthopaedic, general and cardiac surgery, partnering with health centres across Canada to improve the delivery of care.​

J&J MedTech aims to support institutions to realize significant savings, through reduced hospital stays and better healthcare resource utilization.​

* In Canada, Johnson & Johnson Medical Products, a division of Johnson & Johnson Inc.​

  1. Lee et al. Same day discharge with mobile app follow-up after minimally invasive colorectal surgery. Annals of Surgery online ahead of print (2021).
  2. Eustache et al. A Mobile Phone App Improves Patient-Physician Communication And Reduces Emergency Department Visits After Colorectal Surgery. Dis Colon Rectum online ahead of print (2021). Fewer preventable emergency department visits (Incidence Rate Ratio 0.34, p=0.043) and shorter length of stay (-1.62 days, p=0.011) associated with cohort using app.​
  3. Annual savings calculated based on cost of $1145/length of stay day in a regular ward. Data based on case costing from a large Canadian hospital