Have you ever sat for hours in the hospital, anxiously waiting for news about a loved one who is undergoing surgery? Well now, there's an app for that -- an app that makes it quick and easy for surgical staff to provide updates throughout the procedure.

EASE, which stands for "Electronic Access to Surgical Events," is a mobile app that allows clinicians to send customized texts, photos, and videos from the operating room to family and friends in the waiting room and beyond.

It uses secure encryption that complies with HIPAA and HITECH healthcare privacy regulations. It also uses 256-bit encryption (the same level of security used by banks and credit card companies) to protect all communications. For added security, all texts, photos, and videos disappear 60 seconds after they are viewed, with nothing saved to a device. "It's like Snapchat from the operating room."

How It Works

The EASE app was designed by anesthesiologists who understand what goes on in a busy operating room. They designed it to be easy for everyone involved to use, and to ensure that it does not disrupt the surgical procedure in any way.

To send updates, EASE is connected to the patient's medical bracelet and updating is as simple as scanning the patient's wristband with the EASE app. The app sends an audible update reminder every 30 minutes to the circulating nurse, who can then send a quick text to waiting family by scanning the patient's wristband barcode to send HIPAA compliant updates.

Updates can also be sent throughout the entire hospital experience, such as during pre-op, post-op recovery, or from an intensive care unit (ICU) or other location that may be off-limits to family members.

EASE is free for patients, their families and friends -- the service is setup and paid for by participating hospitals. Family members can download the app from either the Apple or Android Store to their own mobile device.

A simple registration process generates a unique access code which is then scanned by the healthcare professional, to make a secure connection. The patient and/or "consenting authority" can also add other recipients to receive updates during surgery or for other purposes.

Proven Success

EASE is giving hospitals a powerful tool to reduce anxiety and improve patient and family satisfaction. As one mother explained, receiving EASE updates during her child's surgery helped her feel like she was in the surgery room with her, "like she never left her arms."

The EASE system is currently being used by hospitals throughout the United States to provide transparency and improve patient and family satisfaction. The app is in use at two of the Top 10 hospitals ranked by U.S. News as the Best Children's Hospitals 2017-18: Texas Children's Hospital (ranked #4) and Nationwide Children's Hospital (ranked #7). The system is also in use at the St. Louis Children's Hospital (ranked #31) and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children (ranked #43 in cardiology).

The EASE application also became a lifeline for parents in September during Hurricane Irma when the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, Florida was on lockdown. Throughout the lockdown, medical staff used the EASE app to provide updates to the parents of 108 babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Additional information is available at www.EaseApplications.com.