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BariBuddy mobile app

BariBuddy mobile app - postoperative follow-up 2.0?

With the newly developed application BariBuddy, a bariatric patient can get their everyday coaching concerning meals, eating speed, fluids, vitamins and exercise as push notifications on their iPhone

This article was authored by Dr Carl-Magnus Brodén, Lund University, Sweden

A gastric bypass or sleeve gastectomy is perhaps the single most life-changing health care procedure available, people literally get their lives back, physically as well as socially

However, bariatric surgery is unique in the way that the patient is supposed to adapt to life-long lifestyle changes as extensive as in cases of chronic disease, even though the person feels healthier than ever (and has perhaps experienced remission of diabetes, hypertension and more). Tradition at bariatric surgery centres add to the complexity of the situation by often not enduring to do follow-up more than a few years after the operation. The patient is then referred to a family physician with often very limited time, interest in and knowledge of the life of a patient post obesity surgery.

The risks that are built into this lack of long term follow-up include loss of compliance (and thus weight regain), but also vitamin deficiencies: a Swedish study of 293 patients 11 years after gastric bypass surgery (Karefylakis et. al., Obesity Surgery 2014) showed that only 1 in 20 (5,1%) of patients were taking vitamin supplements as prescribed, leading to 69% having secondary hyperparathyreoidism. The latter basically means your body eats skeletal bone to keep blood calcium levels at adequate levels, the obvious risk in the long run being osteoporosis.

How do we turn this around? The challenge is to bring everyday coaching, plus useful medical and health resources as close to the patient as possible -for life.

What was before almost a mission impossible may now be within reach of modern technology: we all carry smartphones with us, wherever we go. Many of us already let the phone keep track of our calendar, emails, traffic info, weather, bank errands and social media. With the newly developed application BariBuddy, a bariatric patient can get their everyday coaching concerning meals, eating speed, fluids, vitamins and exercise as push notifications on their iPhone. Added to this is a recipe and FAQ database, built-in contact info to the operating clinic, weight curve, diary function, clinic reports, and more.

The app never forgets the patient, nor loses interest. The future possibilities will include direct clinic interactivity as well as reports to quality registers, research and more.

It is our belief that health apps, such as Baribuddy, will be a vital new key to improving both patient compliance and follow-up of bariatric patients, anywhere and potentially for any length of time. 

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