Mari Miceli, a retired Registered Nurse, is the creator of a revolutionary app called PatientAider. With her experience educating patients through the medium of shared resources, Miceli saw the need to increase patient and family awareness and engagement during a patient’s hospital stay.
Miceli’s patient and family-centric direction led her to integrate the valuable information and resources she had gathered over the years to create an all-encompassing mobile app. PatientAider is designed to educate patients and their families throughout their care journey in the hospital. PatientAider explains a hospital’s hierarchy, what to anticipate from pre-op protocols to expectations following hospital discharge, and how to communicate with a patient’s care team to mitigate problems and avoid mistakes from taking place.
“Patients and their families are the ones who really need to know ‘who’s who’ and how to talk to doctors in a hospital setting. In order to be aware of common terms, protocols and risks that you may encounter in the hospital, you must educate yourself as a patient or advocate by reading as much information as you can. This is where PatientAider becomes handy!”
Miceli’s medical career started at Massachusetts General Hospital where she worked as a Patient Care Associate and then as a Registered Nurse. She quickly learned how physically and mentally challenging her role was. Coordinating and prioritizing patients and their needs was difficult. Patient situations varied and a patient’s optimal care process was unique.
Miceli took on several medical roles over the next decade and became well-versed in patient-family centered care.
As a Case Manager in Nursing at the University of Vermont Medical Center, Miceli was on the floor with patients and their families, meeting with them face-to-face. She was responsible for managing patients from admission to discharge and made sure patients and their family members understood their insurance coverage, had support at home, and partnered with each patient as a member of their care team for the duration of her patient’s journey.
Often times, Miceli found herself online so that she could stay up to date on the latest medical findings and also provide her patients and their family members with the latest and most reputable clinically-based best resources. The medical industry is constantly changing and Miceli knew she needed to be as up to date in her role as possible. Miceli found that short videos kept patients and families engaged and articles she found could educate patients and families in a non-complicated way.
“What really got to me is a patient would have an extensive procedure, such as throat surgery, and would be discharged to go home with all of this complicated medical equipment and had no idea how to use it. So, I came up with this plan which included short informational videos and resources for patients and their family members to look at before their surgery.”
Miceli was inspired to design a comprehensive mobile application with valuable resources for patients and families after attending the 2015 Patient Safety Movement Foundation Summit.
“Listening to the patient stories inspired me to see if an app for patients and families existed and if not to design one. Hospital patients needed a ‘survival guide’ to help prevent medical errors.”
Miceli along with John McConnell, Enterprise Architect at UVMMC and app developer, created PatientAider.
PatientAider empowers medical consumers to speak up and advocate for themselves in and out of the hospital. PatientAider prepares, educates and allows patients and their family members to actively participate in decisions that relate directly to their care.
PSMF: At what stage of a patient’s care is PatientAider most effective as a resource and tool?
MM: PatientAider is helpful for patients to have before they go into surgery, while they’re in the hospital and upon discharge. The app is a not only a resource for patients but for their families and friends who come to visit them. For instance, if the patient is a child and too young to understand what’s going on, PatientAider is a tool for their parents or caregiver.
PSMF: How long did it take you to gather all of the resources within PatientAider and how did you determine the topics?
MM: It took two years to gather the information, come up with the initial design and layout, and build the app. As far as determining the sections and topic focus, I began my research by selecting prominent patient safety challenges – some aligned with the Patient Safety Movement Foundation’s Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS) and others were selected based on my experience with patients and what I knew they needed to know. Any reference mentioned in PatientAider has been backed by well-known, reputable organizations.
PSMF: What is your favorite part about PatientAider?
MM: What has always inspired me are the Patient Safety Movement Foundation’s patient story videos. When you connect a real person with a terrible medical event it resonates with someone in a powerful way.
PSMF: What is to come for PatientAider?
MM: We’d like all Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS) to be topics and PatientAider will be available in Spanish soon.
PSMF: What is your greatest hope for PatientAider?
MM: My greatest hope is that patients and their family members will download and utilize it. Ultimately, helping a patient along their journey. That PatientAider would become a partner for patients in planning, assessing, and engaging in their care.
PSMF: How does someone access PatientAider on their mobile device?
MM: PatientAider is available to download from the iOS (Apple) and Google Play App Store for free.
Miceli donated PatientAider to the Patient Safety Movement Foundation at the 5th Annual World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit, in February 2017.