Minneapolis Heart Institute Launches into Mobile Health Care

Article Citation:

Mark Ebeling (2017) Minneapolis Heart Institute Launches into Mobile Health Care. Journal of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation: January 2017, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 87-88.

Original Article

Mark Ebeling, MBA, BSN, RN, NE-BC

Minneapolis Heart Institute, Minneapolis, MN

Address for correspondence: 
Mark Ebeling, MBA, BSN, RN, NE-BC 
Minneapolis Heart Institute
920 E 28th Street #300
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407
Tel: 612-863-3900 

Email: mark.ebeling@allina.com

Download the app by searching your app store for “MHI/ANW” or by scanning the QR code on the next page.

In all areas of technology, few innovations are emerging as quickly as mobile applications. Medical and health care apps are growing exponentially within that space. While there are a multitude of apps that allow patients to track key medical information at home and seamlessly communicate that data to their medical team, such apps are still in their infancy compared with other industries. Available applications include weight loss programs, patient appointment scheduling, access to medical records, as well as health information search engines utilized by medical professionals and consumers alike. To date, there has been little developed to help providers care for patients or to provide immediate access to the most up-to-date treatment protocols and specialty referral centers. Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern (ANW) Hospital has developed complex, integrated medical protocols for all types of cardiovascular emergencies such as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI); therapeutic hypothermia following cardiac arrest (Cool-It); aortic dissections; critical limb ischemia; and cardiogenic shock. Historically, these Minneapolis Heart Institute-developed protocols were communicated to referring providers and hospitals at over 40 sites in the form of slideshow presentations, portable document formats (PDFs), brochures, and posters. Eventually, these protocols were also available on the Minneapolis Heart Institute website. While this system worked well, any type of change or improvement was difficult to communicate to referring partners. Dr. William Katsiyiannis, Minneapolis Heart Institute president and CEO, and Dr. Nicholas Burke, medical director of the cardiovascular emergencies program, envisioned the creation of some type of mobile app. The challenge was to find the best opportunity to positively impact patient care utilizing technology.

Early in 2016, Cardiovascular Emergencies Program Manager, Mark Ebeling, and Nurse Clinician, Matt Pavlovec, began outreach work by visiting several referring hospitals that send critically ill patients to ANW for tertiary care. A common theme among the sites emerged: the communication of the emergency protocols, posters, and updates proved difficult. One of the first hospitals visited was a somewhat rural facility that recently had given the emergency department (ED) a physical facelift. Emergency departments are the biggest users of the cardiovascular emergency protocols. These protocols are designed to give easy to follow, well-established guidelines for initial treatment of patients and the ensuing transfer process culminating at ANW Hospital. One of the ED physicians noted that the long-standing Level One STEMI protocol poster was missing from the wall where it had stood for years prior to the remodel project. Though not often referenced, physicians like to have a copy on hand should the poster go missing. This problem of outdated or misplaced protocols was found in several additional hospitals; a mobile app with all Minneapolis Heart Institute protocols, links, and contact information would be the perfect solution. Empowering providers to easily access Minneapolis Heart Institute protocols at their fingertips would enable more timely and accurate care.

“We believe this is the first of its kind anywhere and will further improve the care of our patients and our ‘connectedness’ with our referring providers,” —M Nicholas Burke, MD, director of Emergency Cardiovascular Services at Minneapolis Heart Institute®.

The Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation had recently called for innovation grant applications, which was opportune timing for the project to receive funding approval. Bids were sought from multiple developers ranging from startup tech companies to well-established mobile and Web application designers. After selecting a mobile app developer with experience in the health care industry, work began. To streamline the build process and comply with regulations, access to patient electronic medical records was not part of the design nor would the app transmit patient data. With the help of the marketing team, the first Minneapolis Heart Institute app began to visually take shape. In addition to protocols, incorporating the key Minneapolis Heart Institute services OneCall (transfer-facilitating service) and Cardiology Curbside (immediate expert cardiology advice provided for free) would add further value to the application. The direct links to OneCall and Minneapolis Heart Institute Cardiology Curbside are built into the app’s home screen and protocol pages. The Curbside service handled over 4,000 calls last year while OneCall took over 21,000 calls; both are integral services to the health care community and will be more easily accessible through the app. Downloads are free of charge and available on both Apple (iOS) and Android platforms. The new Minneapolis Heart Institute app will utilize the powerful tools of analytics from Apple and Facebook. Predefined event data ranging from number of downloads and protocols used, to call data and patient transfers initiated via app usage will provide useful analytics. User demographic and location data will also be captured through the analytics tool, and will provide accurate feedback from treatment zones surrounding ANW Hospital.

Minneapolis Heart Institute’s mobile app underwent successful beta testing in September, and officially launched October 11, 2016. The modest goal of 100 downloads within the first 90 days was quickly surpassed, with over 625 downloads within the first 8 weeks since launch. More information surrounding the app and its use will be disseminated by the outreach team and via provider education events. The launch of the mobile app will assist partner hospitals of Minneapolis Heart Institute and ANW and enhance referring providers’ abilities to provide world-class care for patients at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Download the app by searching your app store for “MHI/ANW” or by scanning the QR code below.