Area hospital using app to connect to patients and families

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - HSHS St. Johns Hospital is working a new app into their health care: the Ease app.

The app allows doctors to update people on the status of family members who are in surgery. 

Executive Medical Director for the Prairie Heart Institute, Dr. Gregory Mishkel, says this new technology will allow the hospital to establish better communication and trust with its patients. 

"At certain parts of the operation prescribed, we will send messages to all family members who have downloaded the app," Mishkel says.

A role has been created in the operating room for a HSHS employee to send out updates every 45 minutes. The updates can include pictures, videos or text messages. 

"If the family wants to see the beating heart, we'll send a video of that," Mishkel said. "The video shows up on the family's phone, and is supposed to disappear after a minute."

With the Ease app, family members can be anywhere in the world and still receive updates. 

"A serviceman in Afghanistan got to see his father's open-heart surgery," Mishkel said.

Due to the app's success, it is now available to all operating rooms and intensive care units. It's even being offered for the neonatal and pediatric units. 

"There's nothing worse than having a loved one in an operating room and just sitting around not knowing what's happening," Mishkel said. 

People can download the app for free, upon arrival at the hospital. For more information visit the hospital's website.

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