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AHN Patients Manage Health Via Mobile Phone with MyChart Care Companion

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Allegheny Health Network Launches MyChart Care Companion, Helping Patients Manage their Health at Home, with Real-Time Connection to Caregivers

Patients Use Digital Step-by-Step Guide to Manage Recovery from Hospitalization, or Care for Ongoing Health Conditions

PITTSBURGH, Pa.– Allegheny Health Network (AHN) today announced the launch of MyChart Care Companion, a digital guide that walks patients through an interactive, individualized plan of care, with step-by-step instructions and real-time symptom tracking, all done from the patient’s own mobile phone. Patients who are recovering from hospitalization or managing ongoing care for certain conditions can work closely with their care providers to stay on track, potentially reducing the need for re-hospitalizations and improving health outcomes.

AHN is the first organization in the country to launch Care Companion for patients recovering from a stroke, and one of only 15 centers nationwide offering Care Companion to patients. It is also available for AHN patients who have diabetes and certain heart conditions. Later this year, AHN plans to make the platform available for patients to help manage healthy pregnancies and for those recovering from a total joint replacement procedure.

“When patients are hospitalized, or dealing with a chronic condition, following a plan of care is essential to a successful recovery. With MyChart Care Companion, patients are guided through the care plan and able to communicate with their caregivers from anywhere using their mobile phones,” said Robert White, MD, AHN’s Chief Medical Information Officer. “The adoption of Care Companion is one of many ways that AHN is living up to its promise of making care more convenient and accessible to patients.”

MyChart Care Companion reminds patients about important steps to recovery, such as exercise and healthy eating, and lets patients document medication use, or when they are experiencing symptoms. It can also integrate with smart blood pressure readers through Apple HealthKit and Google Fit.

The new Care Companion feature is part of the existing MyChart app developed by electronic health record company Epic. Patients at AHN use MyChart to schedule appointments, request prescription refills, message their providers, pay bills, and more.

“Stroke patients face a long recovery that requires them to closely follow a post-stroke care plan,” said Ashis H. Tayal, MD, Director, AHN Cerebrovascular Center. “We are happy to offer MyChart Care Companion to our patients, knowing that they will find it simple and convenient to use, and that our caregivers will get real-time notification of patients’ progress, including symptoms that require quick follow-up.”

With the ability to connect to home devices such as step-counters and heart rate monitors, MyChart Care Companion acts as a digital security blanket. Information from these devices can be sent directly to the patient’s care team.

"With Care Companion, I have more peace of mind that my patients are following their care plan,” said Kelly Buchinsky, Stroke Nurse Navigator at AHN. “Previously, we relied on phone calls to follow up with patients. Now, I can immediately see how patients are doing with their goals, and I’m notified right away when they have concerning symptoms. We can work together to make adjustments to their medications or treatment and avoid complications.”

Cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke are among the top causes of death in Allegheny County, according to statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. AHN offers a high level of stroke care throughout a coordinated system of stroke centers that have received special designations from the Joint Commission, recognizing the focused, expert care they provide. Allegheny General Hospital is recognized as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and Forbes, Jefferson, Saint Vincent and West Penn hospitals are recognized as Primary Stroke Centers.