VA Maryland Health Care System
One of Our Own Changes the National Scene
Wednesday, October 19, 2016Dr. Lois Freeman, a cardiology nurse, is heartpumping for joy after she beat out more than 2,200 submissions from across the country in the 2016 Employee Innovation Competition. She is among 16 finalists for her idea of an app designed specifically for heart failure patients. "The goal is to encourage patients to become active participants in their own care and to help them understand heart failure well enough to avoid trips to the ED and multiple hospital stays," Freeman said.
Freeman's project is the Heart Failure Mobile App. Using her app, heart failure patients would be able to track sodium intake, blood pressure, weight, medications, nutrition, activity and other factors that contribute to heart failure. In the future she sees the app linked to MyHealtheVet and secure messaging, broadening the use of those technologies, and thereby increasing patients' access to their providers, improving communication of patient data, allowing early intervention and reduction in admissions, and reducing emergency room and clinic visits.
While there are some commercial apps already existing, they aren't as comprehensive as what Freeman envisions. She said that there is currently no app that includes all the individual aspects of data needed to track patients with heart failure. Now that her project for this Innovation has been accepted, she and VHA are working with an app developer. The app will be piloted here at the VAMHCS before it is rolled out in the VISN and then later across the nation.