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April 30, 2012
A team of Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) surgeons specializing in hernia repair recently launched a revolutionary quality of life iPhone and Droid application to better predict post-operative discomfort for male inguinal hernia patients.
The app, called the Carolinas Equation for Quality of Life (CeQOL) (pronounced See-qual), has a sophisticated backend algorithm based on five years of patients’ post-operative quality of life response data, so the patient, after answering a few simple questions, will see their score as a percentage chance of chronic discomfort following surgery up to one-year out. This app is the first of its kind to pre-operatively predict the quality of life outcome of a patient following surgery based on their own demographic and pre-surgery information. The tool allows surgeons to identify patients in whom alternative surgical or non-surgical strategies should be considered, and improves communication between the physician and patient by providing a more detailed, informed consent with realistic expectations regarding post-operative discomfort.
“Hernias are the most common operation performed worldwide, and, previously, a surgeon’s measure of success was the lack of hernia recurrence,” said B. Todd Heniford, MD, FACS, lead developer of the app and Chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal and Minimally Invasive Surgery and Director of the Carolinas Hernia Center for CHS. “The next phase in hernia surgery is to have patient quality of life as the major mark of operative success.”
CeQOL was designed to educate patients about chronic discomfort after inguinal hernia repair. The app offers patients educational materials concerning many types of hernias and their treatments, and also the risks and possible complications. It allows for a more detailed conversation between the physician and patient about patient’s options, pre-operatively, and a more informed consent process.
The app is as an extension of the CHS team’s hernia evaluation index, the Carolinas Comfort Scale™ (CCS), launched in 2006. The CCS has since become the international standard for evaluating quality of life for patients undergoing complex hernia repair, and has been used in patients undergoing complex hernia repairs in 19 U.S. states and 39 countries, and translated into 32 languages.
CeQOL was launched to more than 1,300 hernia surgeons at the combined 2012 American and European Hernia Society meeting in late March. The team also won the Best Research Project of the Year award – the only award given out during the combined meeting – from its peers for the app. In one month, the app had been downloaded more than 2,000 times by physicians and patients in 15 countries.