Icory Clinical Study - Digital Patient Journey Solution

The Icory Clinical Study is using Buddy Healthcare's care coordination and patient engagement platform with joint replacement patients. Our blog article is based on Pohjanpiiri, Oulu University Hospital's personnel magazine's article (pages 32-33).

University Hospitals, Universities and Digital Health companies have co-created a mobile app to support joint replacement patients. Patients are currently testing the app as a part of the Icory study.

Oulu University Hospital's (OYS) Icory mobile app is a digital patient journey solution used on a mobile device. The patients are using the mobile application during the whole surgical care pathway, and the objective is to ensure a better patient experience for joint replacement patients.

When the Icory mobile app was in the co-creation phase, the project team had identified that it is crucial to create a unified communication channel between patients, family members, and healthcare professionals. The solution is expected to improve the collection and measurement of pain.

"Icory is an intelligent, customer-oriented, and personalized mobile care pathway for patients undergoing elective hip and knee arthroplasty surgeries," said Miia Jansson, Researcher from Oulu Faculty and Meddate icine.

The Icory clinical study started in September 2019, and the goal was to recruit 66 Patients Undergoing Elective Hip and Knee Arthroplasty due to Primary Osteoarthritis. Study Nurse Riitta Laitala from Oulu University Hospital, is recruiting and measuring the patients at the beginning and guiding with the app use. During the study, the patients can chat with the study nurse, or they can also book a virtual care-related meeting through the app.

What is Inside the iCory Digital Patient Journey App?

The patient can familiarize him-/herself to the phases of care through visual timeline representation of the care path, get information on how to prepare for surgery, receive reminders, fill in the questionnaire forms, communicate with care personnel via messaging functionality and video calls, and search information from frequently asked questions.


The application contains information about the preparation for the surgery, forms for anamnesis, anesthesia and treatment follow-up, care-related videos and pictures, and timed, automated and individually-tailored reminders, e.g., on when to stop eating and drinking before the surgery. Also, the application provides instructions on how to arrive at the treatment unit and comprehensive guidance for wound care and rehabilitation at home after the operation.

"Patients can read, listen, or watch all the instructions. Usability of the app is excellent" said Miia Jansson.

The App can Improve Patient Communication and Care Pathway Transparency

Deputy Chief, Orthopedist, Ari-Pekka Puhto from OYS, works as an Icory project manager. Dr. Puhto has identified that "With the use of a mobile app, the hospital can improve patient communication and transparency. The mobile app makes the surgical care pathway clearer for the patient. The platform also enables the collection medical questionnaires, electronic pre-assessment forms and patient feedback/ patient-reported experience measures (PREMs). The app makes the surgery patient's care pathway clearer for the patient".

Many healthcare providers collect patient feedback or PREMs through one single questionnaire only at the very end of the care process, covering the entire surgical care pathway. With the mobile app, it is possible to collect patient feedback on different stages of the patient journey.

The project team had concluded, "The app is improving care quality and patient safety. We can prepare our patients better for their surgeries and reduce the last-minute surgery cancellations. Our goal is to streamline patient recovery, rehabilitation, and motivate the patients after surgery."

When is the Icory clinical study completed?

The clinical study will last until spring 2020. The patients are using the Icory app straight after the surgery booking until the follow-up visit. (Edit: January 2021 *Due to Covid-19 pandemic the surgeries and thus results have been postponed and they will be available in 2021).

Designing the Patient Journey Model

The research project group consisted of Oulu University Hospital, Oulu Faculty of Medicine, Oulu School of Economics, VTT, Tampere University, Helsinki University Hospital, and nine health technology companies. The co-creation started by reviewing the existing digital care pathway and identifying the needs of the joint replacement patients in Oulu University Hospital. The Icory project team created the care pathway model after research and analysis.

Miia Jansson described that the research project group interviewed 20 professionals, a joint replacement patient faces during his/her care path. The group of professionals, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, physiotherapists, and schedulers.

The research group interviewed patients:

1) before their  surgery;
2) during their recovery at the hospital;
3) and while the patients were waiting for the post-surgery follow-up visit.

After the background research was ready, the hospital's care personnel commented and reviewed it. After the reviewing process, the research team provided the analyzed results to the digital health companies who co-created the Icory intelligent surgery care pathway solution for testing.

Benefits of Care Coordination Platform to the Hospital?

Icory aims to improve the patient experience, but also, the impact analysis is expected to bring benefits to the hospital.
Dr. Puhto concludes "The use of the mobile app can change ways of working, such as reducing the number of phone calls or paper format questionnaires at the hospital, especially if the platform can be integrated into an electronic patient record (EHR) system in the future."

Miia Jansson has also evaluated that "hospital can guide a more significant number of patients at once, and number of the data entries may decrease. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) feature could also be attached to the platform in the future."
"Research and studies have revealed that physiotherapy instructions work as well through the mobile device than face-to-face with the patient."

If you want to read the article in Finnish, click to OYS personnel magazine, Pohjanpiiri, and scroll down to page 32. Click here to find ClinicalTrials.gov's website's presentation to learn more about the Icory Study or visit the Icory Intelligent Solution for Surgery Care website for more information. .

Read from our previous blog article what are the Icory goals? Which other digital health companies are participating in the Icory project? And what is Buddy Healthcare’s role in the clinical study?


patient looking at the icory mobile app

Icory is Intelligent Customer-driven Solution for Orthopedic and Pediatric Surgery Care. The image is not related to the Icory study.

Leave a reply